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Last Updated:  Monday, 17 March, 2003, 18:04 GMT
Ms Dynamite tops anti-gun tour
Ms Dynamite
Ms Dynamite has spoken out against gun violence before
Brit winner Ms Dynamite, So Solid Crew star Lisa Maffia and soul singer Shola Ama are joining together for a tour raising money for anti-gun initiative Stop The Violence.

The 10-date tour will visit a string of British universities in May.

It is being organised with the help of the Stop The Violence charity and Raw Talent, a Nottingham-based youth collective.

Ms Dynamite, who has spoken out on gun crime before, said: "In terms of gun violence and gun crime we (musicians) definitely have a responsibility to people.

Referring to comments made by Culture Minister Kim Howells about rap music "glamorising" gun culture, she said: "The problem is poverty, young people have to live in crazy circumstances and people who do not live in those circumstances cannot judge."

Lisa Maffia live
Lisa Maffia (right) sings with garage collective So Solid Crew
And the singer added that she would work with the government on combating gun violence "if they were seriously going to listen to what we say".

Lisa Maffia spoke of the importance of community projects, and said: "I grew up myself in Brixton South London, I have a six-year-old daughter and I know there are not enough projects and opportunities for my daughter."

Duane Watson, the director and founder of Raw Talent said they would be releasing a single for Stop the Violence on 28 April, adding they wanted to release a series of singles with big names.

The event comes after January's double-shooting of teenagers Charlene Ellis, 18, and Letisha Shakespeare, 17, at a New Year's Eve party in Birmingham.

'Accusations'

The pair were the innocent victims of a drive-by shooting blamed on gang tension in the city. No-one has been charged with their killings.

"It is a 10-date tour with the cream of British urban music, and it's something that is really positive," said a tour spokesman.

"It's really important because after the shootings several ministers, including Kim Howells, were making accusations against urban music and rap music, and how it made a negative impact on youth culture.

"That is just ridiculous.

'Start loving'

"This tour will be a really positive thing."

The tour starts on 2 May at Hull University and ends on 16 May in Preston.

Also on the road with Ms Dynamite will be urban artists Moss, Tubby T, Fallacy, Ms Scarlet and Kwame Kwatan.

In January, Ms Dynamite played at the memorial concert for Charlene Ellis and Letisha Shakespeare.

She called for black people to "start loving instead of killing each other" in a poem she read out to an 8,000-strong audience at the concert.

Lisa Maffia's group So Solid Crew, the pioneers of Britain's garage music scene, have met with stinging attacks for their music, which has been accused of promoting and glorifying violence.

However the group have said they "abhor violence and have made it clear on their record that they want the violence to stop".




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