To Aaron Dugmore

It is 4 years to the day since Aaron Dugmore took his life, aged only 9. I have written a memorial piece for Aaron and have today shared it online complete with a video.

I remember writing this poem, an anti-bullying awareness piece; I was sat in my room alone mourning the loss of my grandad Roy, who had died a few days previous. My eyes were stinging, I wasn’t sure if it was from the stale tears that sat on my cheeks or the fact my laptop’s light had been beaming directly on to my face for hours. I sat with a blank word document open, I was desperately trying to write a memorial piece for my grandad but the words would not come, everything was wrong, it was misguided and most of all rushed.

Then I remember one of the best memorial poems I have ever heard, it is a piece by Brighton based poet Karen Withecomb and speaks honestly and openly about her mother, it is aptly titled “For My Mother.” I remember the first time she read it aloud, it struck a real chord with me and I could feel the love and adoration radiating from the poem. It may just be one of my favourite poems I have ever heard. Then I remembered another fine detail, Karen stating it had taken her years to complete, and this gave me an overwhelming sense of relief.  I stopped trying so hard.

I came away from the blank MS Word document and opened up my web browser, I looked at the news stories and that was when I saw the story of Aaron Dugmore trending. I must have read every article available on the case and it filled my heart with a great sadness. As somebody who has battled with depression and flirted with suicide, seeing a story about a child taking their life is sobering, it makes you see a real irrationality in the act but also a deep empathy resonated in my bones.

The story reminded me of another poem, To Ricky Reel, by the amazing author Benjamin Zephaniah. This poem was an open letter to Ricky Reel, a young man who lost his life in a savage racist attack in 1997. There were stark comparisons that could be drawn from both Aaron Dugmore’s story and that of Ricky Reel from the media coverage and this made me sad, angry and more importantly inspired.

I borrowed Zephaniah’s tone and began writing an open letter to Aaron Dugmore. I was able to channel my grief and work it in to an apology, to say sorry for the ugliness a young child saw in such a short lifetime.

As time goes on, some of the finer details of the case have changed, and some people question the racial elements and what really happened, even suggesting the media furore clouded the cold hard facts, but that does not make my work any less important.

This poem speaks out against bully’s, much like Benjamin Zephaniah’s work. We must teach our children to see everybody as one, to look upon each other with the eyes of love. We must not fill children with fear; we must be disciplined when we teach them to interact with society. We must teach them to accept and not just to tolerate and we ourselves must become more accepting.

I perform this poem every time I step on to a different stage or a new venue so the memory of Aaron is not forgotten.  I dedicate this work not only to Aaron but to any child who has hated their existence because others have made them feel worthless, for those who suffer in silence because of fear of speaking out, or that they will be dismissed by those who are supposed to look after them.


Here is the full transcript of the poem;


To Aaron Dugmore

You packed your bag for the last time today,

You reluctantly walked to school amid the cold February air.

Your body shivered but the weather was not penetrating that warm winter coat.

No, today, you shook with fright.

If we believe the papers you were punished for being white,

They cite the fact the school is made up of 75 percent ethnic minorities.

The priorities of the authorities was never your safety,

I’ve lost a lot of faith in humanity lately,

When I heard how another child had taken his life,

I could do nothing but cry.

You were only nine, but your outlook on life was that there was nowhere left to hide.

Even when they threatened you with a plastic knife and told you their parents said white kids deserve to die,

The school just turned a blind eye.

Erdington wronged you.

They said Boys will be boys

or kids can be cruel

but not one single child should fear going to school.

How was the walk home for you?

Did you have any clue what you were going to do?

Or was it merely madness of the moment,

here’s hoping you felt no pain

God knows I have done the same

And no child should experience the way in which a rope cuts off oxygen flow to the brain.

I broke down when I saw your picture,

but if I’ve learnt anything, it’s to wipe my eyes.

So Aaron on behalf of earth

I apologise.



Top 5 Rap albums of 2016

My Top 5 Rap albums of 2016

Before I get in to this list I just wanted to give props to the likes of Chance, Childish, Drake, Giggs & Kano. All of them came hard this year, and while I think they shined on individual tracks I felt the albums fell a little flat.


5 Redpill – Instinctive Drowning

Instinctive Drowning is the second studio album from the Detroit rapper. His first Look what this world did to us was a subtle confession of all the faults the man b
ehind the mic saw when he looked at himself in the mirror. It is more of the same this time around, fuelled with more venom and a lot more production the second album is just as powerful as the first. When it comes to hip-hop honesty is the best policy and this album has it in abundance. The tracks The New Normal, When the Devil comes knocking and Gin and Tonic are the real masterpieces on an otherwise solid album.





 4 Kanye West – The Life of Pablo

What is there to say about Kanye West that everybody doesn’t already know? The Life of Pablo was very highly anticipated. Yeezus saw the Chicago lyricist change his musical direction and it worked a charm. This time around if you wante
d TLOP you had to subscribe to Tidal, it wasn’t coming to itunes, but then it did and people everywhere rejoiced. TLOP is a strange one, it has 19 tracks and a lot of love and hard work went in to it, yet it still feels raw and unpolished. This is what makes it stand out as a truly great hip hop album. Kanye has been able to craft records that are commercial radio successes but still hold rap credibility. The stands out tracks on the album for me are Fade, Ultralight Beam and Wolves.






 3 Watsky – X Infinity

The fifth studio album from spoken word artist turned rapper George Watsky is a real evolution musically. His soft rap style of Cardboard Castles has been ditched, the slow paced stories from All you can do have been adapted and Watsky sounds better than ever. Always honest, Watsky has perfected his flow, his lyrics are heartfelt and hit a little harder with each listen and the tracks have outstanding beats. The highlight of the album is the final four tracks which all fall under the heading of Lovely Sweet things. These tracks beautifully cra
ft the tale of Watsky’s identity, where his love of music developed and exactly just what being able to create means to him.



 2 Jarren Benton – Slow Motion Vol.2

This Motherf$%@er is crazy. Strike that, he’s CRAZY. The Atlanta artist has been continually putting out albums with insane instrumentals, superfast rhythm and lyrics that make you go “he didn’t just say what I think he did, did he?” Slow Motion Vol.2 is not an album but rather a mixtape. I can only assume its name is indicative of the fact he raps at half his usual tempo but each track feels doubly effective. If you have not been bumping Jarren Benton you have been missing out. Be sure to get on this mixtape and my personal favourite album of his My Grandma’s Basement.


1 Skepta – Konnichiwa

The 2016 Mercury Prize winner, and for good reason. Skepta has been making music since I was in primary school and if you didn’t Bluetooth his grime tracks to your friends Sony-Ericsson you are not a real roadman. This album takes all Skepta’s best qualities and combines them, his London town style, his love for grime production and the deep knowledge of hip hop he has. This is a versatile album, it is helping bring grime to the masses and I feel as though the mainstream adoption of Stormzy really helped this album bang. You can play it in your yard with mumsy and she won’t tell you to turn it down, you can play it at the shubs and the mandem will get turnt up and Skepta and BBK were able to use this album to propel them in to headline slots at many of the countries summer festivals.

My most anticipated album of 2017:

Rag N Bone Man – Human


If you have ears you will have heard the single playing on the radio around 12375634 times a day since November. If you know about music you have probably been aware of the blues/hip hop musician for some time. The Sussex singer has been doing the rounds for a few years and his last release Wolves is the blues album you did not know you needed in your life. It is a bonus he gave it away for free, what a sweetheart. Now being backed by Sony I cannot wait to see what he does with this album, expect a crazy mash up of soul, gospel, blues and hip hop. It should be an all round delight.

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