GUAP Magazine Issue 15 - Humble Beginnings Edition

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GUAP Magazine is the world’s first video magazine dedicated to discovering and showcasing emerging talent. Published and distributed quarterly by GUAP International LTD. Founding Editors Ibrahim Kamara Jide Adetunji Brand Manager Shanice Mears Online Editor Stephanie Ospina Music Editor Sade Akinfe Fashion Editor Regina Jaiy Arts & Culture Editor Bonita Darkoh Assistant Music Editor Benita Barden Photography Karis Beaumont Abdi Ibrahim Shenell Kennedy Terna Jogo Giorgia Gray Flora Scott Ilayda Mcintosh Styling & Creative DIrection Seyon Amosu Felicia Brown Maureen Kargbo Words Aji Ayorinde Zweli Chibs Abiola Kareem Video Ibrahim Kamara Contributions Adam Amanuel Sergio Pedro Saberscope Ella Du Heaume Campbell Shakeena Johnson


Editor’s Note As the first quarter of the year comes to an end and we enter spring; we look back on the last few months with gratitude and joy as we celebrate growth, life and prosperity. Despite coming an awful long way, we acknowledge that none of this would be possible without the love and support from our community of creatives worldwide that continue to be a pillar for our platform. We thank you. The intro of 2019 has been plagued with some monumental losses for our culture with the untimely passing of Cadet and Nipsey Hussle. Both incredible rappers and leaders within their respective communities. We would like to dedicate this issue to these two kings and to all those who have passed on, to watch over us in paradise. The theme ‘Humble Beginnings’ is an ode to those striving towards something greater than themselves, but coming from a disadvantaged background. In a day and age where being ‘self-made’ is so glamorized, we wanted to show the world what it truly means to beat the odds and rise to greatness. Jide Adetunji


CONTENTS COVER FEATURES Hamzaa____________________8 Boogie____________________16

music NSG______________________24 Why you can’t sleep on South London______________34 Kimbo_____________________39 MR IAMNEXT & Jamo Beats___40 cktrl_______________________42 A moment with Boadi________44 A moment with Melle Brown__45 Fontzerelli_________________46 Common Roots_____________50

fashion Straight out of the womb_____52 Nasheeba__________________60 Design-a-life to Design-a-live__62 Funk freak_________________66 Brands on the block_________74 GUAP Lookbook____________78

arts & culture Rafah Mohammed___________82 Malorie Bantala_____________86 Fresh Faces________________90 Claudia Namu______________98 Lolly Comms______________100 Narcography______________102 Bukki Ojo_________________103



Photography by KARIS BEAUMONT Words by ZWELI CHIBS Video by IBRAHIM KAMARA Creative Direction by SEYON AMOSU Styling by SEYON AMOSU & FELICIA BROWN Styling Assistance by SERGIO PEDRO Set Design by AMZZ SARPEI Set Design Assistance by MAUREEN KARGBO







It’s a Sunday, we are in the heart of Peckham and the skies are grey. In the GUAP office at just after 12, the office has become cramped with the number of people and sheer amount of clothes that have been brought in. Today is cover shoot day, and the star for this issue is relatively quietly chilling in the corner with her headphones half on. It is of course the lovely Hamzaa. As with any shoot things aren’t running exactly as planned – the problem for this one being the weather. Despite this the first look gets shot without too much trouble, and the second look which is the cover look goes smoothly aside from Hamzaa’s toe getting stuck in her shoe for a moment and rain just starting to come down as some last shots are captured. As the rain gets heavier and we rush to get back inside we get a glimpse into our 20 year old songstress’s character. Despite the rain, or maybe because of it, someone decides to play Missy Elliot ‘The Rain’ on the speaker which causes Hamzaa to slow her retreat in doors to break out into an impromptu routine perfectly in time with the iconic track. Once back inside things are set up for the interview and Hamzaa changes into her final outfit ready to get back outside as soon as there’s a break in the rain. Luckily the rain gives out as soon as she’s changed so the interview gets pushed back to after all the looks are shot. Final looks shot, interview equipment set up, we finally sit down for a chat. We’re joined by our cover star Hamzaa, how are you doing? I’m good, doing all right, not too shabby! So the topic for this issue is obviously humble beginnings, so what does that mean to you? Humble beginnings means to me honesty. It means hard work, sacrifice. I guess it also means starting small and


growth… room for growth. So would you say you came from humble beginnings? I mean I would hope so! I think I would say I come from humble beginnings because this journey didn’t start as something that I always said I wanted to do. I’ve been performing since I was like 3 years old and you know just nurturing my talent. Growing up in performing arts in summertime I’d be doing shows, acting schools, and you know little summer clubs. I went to school like everyone else too but then naturally, organically it happened. So where did you grow up? That’s a good question because I grew up essentially in two places really. I was born in London and live in Hackney. East London all day everyday ya dunkno. But I also went to boarding school, private school in Surrey and in Sussex. So I’ve kind of been a product of two sorts of environment. So would you say your background of being from Hackney and going into that kind of environment affected you? I think being from Hackney and then going to school in the places that I did kind of made me realise a lot faster and a lot more intensely who I am. In a sense that I kind of learnt that I was…not street smart because that has a lot of negative connotations, but I’d say I was cultured. And I took that into where I went to school and I still remained the same way, I could still hang out with my friends from Hackney. I could still you know, stay in touch with what was going on I was never out of touch. And bear in mind to go to schools like this I had to get scholarships and bursaries. It’s not like I went there and my mum was pay-

ing 30 grand, like she had to struggle and grind hard for me to actually go to school like that. So it kind of showed me what it means to work for something and that it’s not something just handed to you.

people can see what I’m doing. And it’s hard for people to understand, especially the ones around me, that yes, I’m now somewhat financially stable and I might be somewhat making my way into some big limelight, but I still have normal people problems.

So you spoke about your culture and things that shape you, how much does your heritage shape you?

So you said you’ve been performing since 3, what got you into performing like that?

Well my heritage, I’m actually Kenyan and Zambian with a little bit of Scottish in there as well. And I think coming from a home where my mum has very much shown me you know where I’m from, and I’ve been back to Kenya before I’ve been to Zambia, the music, the food, the people, the mannerisms and everything is very much a part of who I am. And if you’re with me on a daily basis you’ll know that’s a big part of me, and my family around me, my mums friends, like everyone is a very big part of who I am. A very very big part.

I feel like as a kid what got me into performing was the fact that one, I’m an only child, so I just got bored a lot and my mum used to play really really good music in the house. From when I was [in]…you know those bouncer things that hang from the ceiling. My mum would play Lingala music, Congolese music and so that was like my first introduction to music I had. So very rhythmic, very you know rich and intense sounds, guitar sounds, vocals, harmonies, very strong music she played a lot of 80s and soul. So around me I was always around music. Dancing, at family parties I was that kid on the dancefloor that was holding the chicken drumstick on the dancefloor always the life of the party from very young. And so, I think a way for my mum to tame that for her own peace of mind was to shove me on an hour every Saturday somewhere I could get it all out without being a nuisance.

So what would you say are the biggest struggles you have faced or are yet to face in terms of your career? In terms of my career I would say my biggest struggle has been to overcome, well the biggest one for me and I’ll try to make it concise is: learning how to balance being an artists with a career and this is my life and it is what I do everyday but also that I’m still really young, I’m 20 years old. Like any 20-year-old, figuring out myself, relationships with people, how I deal with people, who I want to be around, and how I am in certain situations. And sometimes it gets confusing and as someone so young, I would only be in my second year of university, and I’m literally being thrown into…well not thrown into because this is what I wanted but I’m in something that’s a lot bigger than myself. But then in my own personal life I’m dealing with stuff that any normal 20-year-old does but I can’t deal with it in the same way because my life is more on the screen and

So when did that transform from being an outlet for you and your mum to becoming a career? I’d say the transition from it being an outlet to it being my career sort of happened when I left sixth form. I promise you; I kid you not, I wanted to go into international business. I wanted to go to like Canada or Amsterdam and study international business, but I found myself feeling very lost when I was at school. So, I was like you know what I need to leave school and do something that’s going to benefit me and make me feel happy, but I wasn’t


sure what it was. And I could produce, I’ve been able to produce music since I was in year 7 so I used to just make tracks on my laptop, record at home, very humble. [Giggles and clicks fingers] humble beginnings. Produced tracks and wrote tracks on my own on my laptop and that just started there when one day I was confident enough to release music on like SoundCloud. So you started the year in a big way, you released your debut project, how was the process behind you releasing your debut project? We put it out, yeah, I guess you could say at the beginning of this year, it did come out officially the end of last year but the campaign for it kind of picked up a bit this year. The process behind dropping the project was just make the music. The main thing was just making the music. I’d already written a lot of it before I then put it in to produced music. Some of the songs like ‘Red’ I produce and wrote myself before the project, like I’ve had ‘Red’…’Red’ is old like it’s maybe two years old that was on my SoundCloud disgustingly mixed, it was just not cute but you’ve got to start somewhere. So ‘Red’ was really old, I had ‘Saving Grace’ written a long time before the project came out, and then ‘Breathing’, ‘Stranded Love’, ‘You’ and ‘Nothing Can Be Done’ was all new stuff. So it was literally just a matter of getting in the studio and then sitting down with my team, who at the time was very small, sitting down with my managers and we would just sit down and talk about what kind of stamp we wanted to make for my first project and what we wanted people to know of Hamzaa as a first thing. How did you go into the process of deciding how you would get that motivation to showcase Hamzaa across? I think what made me want to put myself out in this kind of way on this kind of project was because a big part of an artist’s success, and people wanting to buy the music and tickets is people feeling like they know you. Because I don’t really connect well with artists that I don’t feel I get an insight into them, when I feel like it’s a very front facing thing, rather than an inside thing. So, what I tried to do was let people into my world a little bit without them feeling

“in my own personal life I’m dealing with stuff that any normal 20-year-old does but I cant deal with it in the same way because my life is more on the screen” like I was doing too much. Tried to make some bops and some heart wrenchers. Last question, what else can we expect from Hamzaa for the rest of the year? From Hamzaa in the future you can expect big and better. More music, more visuals. Experiences, I’m trying to create experiences for people. I want people to need to see me live, to need to buy my merch, to need to listen to my songs, to need to be a part of my journey. Not because of my selfish gain but because they will feel like they need to go and hear this new Hamzaa album because they’re feeling like this. Or they need to go to the show because they know the live band is sick and her backing vocals always come through. I want to create like a whole world. You know Beyoncé, her shows are always sick her dancing, her band, her this, her that. I want to create that; I want to create a whole experience of Hamzaa that people feel like they can be a part of at all times. And I don’t ever want to feel too out of reach of people, never. Like I want to be able to in 5 years, go to my local corner shop and just buy some crisps you know what I’m saying. But to do that you need to build a space where you are accessible at all times. People always tell me “no, no, no, sooner or later it’s going to be hard for you to do xy and z” but if you create an experience for people, they don’t feel out of touch. Whereas if you’re just making records and selling records, and selling out shows, and you’re never to be seen just on covers of magazines, or – I mean that’s a great thing. But you know what I mean, like certain artists you only ever see their face when they do a photoshoot, or when they’re on stage, or when they’re taking pictures of themselves shopping in a shop by themselves. And that’s not the kind of person I want to be, I want to be a part of everything.







Boogie Boogie boogie ooogie boogie

Boogie Boogie cobooogie cobooogie




Compton born rapper Boogie, is a true embodiment of ‘Humble Beginnings’. Known for his unrivaled ability to share his pain and emotions through his music and visuals; Boogie has seen great success with his mixtapes ‘Thirst 48’ and ‘The Reach’ before dropping his debut album ‘Everything for Sale’ at the start of 2019. Despite only being one album deep, Boogie has been recognised and co-signed by Hip-hop royalty gaining praise from Rihanna, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar, before being signed to Shady Records/Interscope in 2017. Since then he has toured the world with rising stars such as 6lack and Tierra Whack, becoming one of the cultures brightest emerging talents. He has also stretched his musical reach overseas collaborating with UK homegrown talent such as Shaé Universe on his latest project.

His journey however hasn't been one of immediate gratifications. After getting in trouble growing up as a kid, his mother sent him to a church boarding school where he was, ironically, introduced to gang life. However, this was also the beginning of his musical career as he joined the ‘First Evergreen Missionary Baptist Church choir’, where he developed a passion for gospel before transitioning into rap. Not to mention he's visually impaired in one eye, describing it as "damn near legally blind," and has a lisp that has become a characteristic of his songs. Despite all the challenges faced by the young LA native, this future legend has made his mark in the culture by beating the odds and rising from his ‘Humble Beginnings’ to achieve greatness.



#GUAPMEETS DEISE DE CARVALHO For those who don't know, who are you, age and what do you do?

Would you say you have developed your own style?

Wassup my fellow art lovers. My name is Deise de Carvalho, but my close friends usually call me Di I’m 21 and I am Angolan and Portuguese. I am a second year student at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, studying Graphic Communication. However I freelance in fashion & editorial that portrays today’s fashion & culture.

Everyone that comes across my work has said it’s authentic and something they’ve never seen before. To be honest, I don’t see it. I look at my work and all I see is colour and culture. Which is something my eyes are attracted to and what sparks my art. I wouldn’t say I have developed my own style. If anything I have found who and what I truly want to be.

How did you get into this?

Any inspirations?

Although I do what I do, before finding myself I used to study fine arts at EPL in Angola, I then decided to go with graphic design & photography whilst at the Birmingham Metropolitan College, for two years. To then coming into my first year at uni and studied Interior Architecture & Design, realising in my second year that graphics was the right direction for me. During the summer of 2018 I surrounded myself with a creative group of people, where we pushed each other to be the best we could be in our subjective arts area. I realized I loved to make mood boards to showcase my ideas to my creative friends and my boyfriend at the time, made me realise of my true potentials. He was always there for me and told me I had to exercise to polish my ability by making a collage every single day.

Most people assume graphic designers inspire me when they don’t. Which is a bit ironic though, seen as I am studying to get a degree in a graphics course. I am inspired by Korean RnB music and album covers. However, above all it’s the modern day youngsters that showcase their unique form of art to the

By doing so I got used to making these so called bizarre collages everyday. It takes me literally less than 15min and I cannot sleep at night knowing that I haven’t created one. I was taught in college how to use the Adobe Photoshop software, but I never really liked the fact of being taught. So I took it upon myself to discover how the programme works by messing about with buttons. People ask me. How do you do it Deise? I simply say, “I don’t know. I don’t plan it. I see colour and I just create.” What does the phrase "humble beginnings" mean to you? A humble beginning to me defines how we as young creatives start our careers thinking how the world comes across our work with appreciation and respect. How there is no competition or plagiarism. Humble beginnings are when we are still flourishing our art with modest emotions.


What does the future hold for you? Without a doubt I know my career path is fashion & editorial. I am currently on the look out to intern for big magazines. I want the experience and I want to network. You will always find me in the streets of London giving out or placing my business cards in museums, exhibitions spaces and agencies. I am only 21 but I want to grasp any opportunity as soon as possible. I want to work for i-D or Dazed, because they follow my sort of visual narrative in their own magazine. My biggest aspiration is to create my own magazine called Di, which I have created and is still on the verge of being published. I want to follow Terry Jones footsteps. He created i-D as a fanzine by going out to the streets photographing and editing the pictures to then be showcased. I want to think big and be big. And with it, bring along stories of creative individuals that our society should not overlook. @belladidirena





Within recent years, ‘Afroswing’/ ‘afro-bashment’ which is a fusion of bashment and afrobeat musical influences has had a strong presence within UK music. With any popular genre comes an overcrowded market of artists and one hit wonders that come and go however NSG, a 6 piece band have managed to stand out amongst the crowd and define themselves by pushing boundaries and curating a fresh and exciting sound. Since officially kick-starting the group in 2013, the band that includes members, Kruddz, Mxjib, Mojo, Dope, ODG and Papii Abz have released a string of hits that have continued to create distinction. Hailing from East London, GUAP where taken on a journey through various sentimental spots that have influenced individual members lives. It was at Islington Arts and Media school where we witnessed the influence of the group by not only young passerby’s but from their ex teachers who came out to speak with the boys and reminisce on memories since their attendance. NSG, which originally stood for ‘No Sleep Gang’ now represent ‘Non Stop Grinding’ and ‘Nigerian Slash Ghanaian’ due to the 50/50 split of the groups heritage grew in popularity with the release of tracks such as ‘Yo Darlin’ ft Geko, ‘Pushing up’ ft No3s and ‘Natural Disaster’. However their journey started earlier in the years with the likes of ‘Love & Affection’ or controversial afrobeat remix to popular bashment track ‘Whine & Kotch’ which the boys explain caused a mixed reaction particularly from those of Caribbean decent. Nonetheless the boys continued to create music and showcase versatility, which eventually led them to their 2018 hit single ‘Options’ ft Tion Wayne. Produced by JAE5 whom is known for his production on countless J-Hus hits, was premiered on GRM daily which received over 10m views and reached viral status with its tailored “Options” dance. Many fans shared videos of themselves recreating the popular dance online and quickly became Symons with the song. Options also climbed the UK charts to become the group’s first Top 10 song, which strengthened their enormous recognition and support from industry figures. However with all accolades accumulated, the group are grounded in their humble beginnings story and discuss their days of attending school, their musical journey, African culture and the future for NSG. With the future looking brighter than ever we look forward to seeing their success story as a story for the history books.









Why you can’t sleep on South London Words by ZWELI CHIBS East London is known as the area for pioneering two of the most key sounds in the UK, the two genres have arguably been the most popular and successful sounds to date. The genres are of course grime and now more recently afro-swing. Both genres have charted and changed the lives of a plethora of people from the artists themselves, producers, engineers, friends that became managers or part of their team, and of course their fans too.This large affecting symptom of the music has made East London largely synonymous with these sounds.

But despite this, or maybe as a consequence of this culture, South London has unofficially been the capital of street rap. That’s past and present too. What was once called ‘road’ rap now constitutes to the mainstream of our rap scenes, and the new underground genre that has sprung up in its place is drill – both scenes were fathered and developed in South London.

Whether it was Croydon, Brixton, Peckham, Thornton Heath, road rap names were constantly popping up in South during the ’00s. From these names, some of them When you think of South London, what comes to mind? developed into our current legends or extremely high-profile artists like Giggs, Krept & Konan, Cadet, and plenty Maybe it’s banter about Croydon not being in London or it more. These kinds of artists paved their own way despite being far. Maybe it’s that you will only travel there for Bagel their various setbacks and struggles and managed to push King. But for a lot of you, South London likely has connothe culture forward. tations of being a hotspot for criminal activity and a place often seen as lawless. But these are all things that should Fast forward to more recent times and drill hit, and where come secondary. When you think of South London you are the OGs of drill from? South of course. If you can should be thinking of the home of some of the country’s think of drill and not think of LD’s mask, there’s something best talent. wrong with you because honestly, I don’t think there’s a more recognisable face in drill. Somebody that largely Now let’s address the facts – South London is not always goes uncredited in the discussion of drill is Swift of Smoke the easiest place to grow up in. Whether that’s due to cuts Boys, but if you listen to almost any drill artist today you in public spending, gentrification making things more exwill hear some of Swift in them. Whether it’s flows, use of pensive, or personal decisions and circumstances it is an unorthodox lingo, ad libs, drill owes quite a bit of its DNA to area rife with energy. For a long time, this energy wasn’t Swift. being used in the most productive of ways and that’s why South London gained the reputation it still struggles to There is a large point of contention over who fathered shake off. This not extremely productive use of energy drill 150 or 67, both groups being from the Brixton area. I’m referring to is crime. Whilst gangs and their criminal I couldn’t tell you either, I wasn’t in those early studio exploits are by no means something exclusive to South sessions. What I can say however is that they each played London, a lot of the most notorious factions and members their part in drills journey. 150 stylistically seem to have were from South London. Just think a couple of years back made the style of more upbeat and faster flowing drill, 67 and think how many people were running around saying on the other hand had the haunting instrumentals and they were from Peckham or Brixton,regardless of whether more menacing delivery. Whilst 150 might have hit the they came from there or not. earlier success with songs like ‘Salute’ and ‘Look Like You’ shutting down events up and down the country it was 67 that became drill’sstars. 67 aided by frontman LD became the poster boys for the sound with hits like ‘Skengman’, ‘Take It There’, ‘6 Gods’, and ‘Let’s Lurk’, not to mention the infamous Scribz ‘Live Corn’.


This was only the first wave of drill though, the newer wave we are currently in with drill was kicked off by Loski. When Loski dropped ‘Hazards’ something changed. Drill was no longer this thing that was just an evolution of street rap it became something entirely new and young. It was with this youthful energy that Loski and Harlem Spartans sparked off the enigmatic stage of drill we are still in now. Despite its negative press, it has always been praised for its ingenuity in creating something not heard before with incredible production and a breath of fresh flows. After this initial burst which included groups like Zone 2, 1011, 410 and more, we find ourselves at today’s state of affairs. DigDat is the new South London force for drill managing to defy the odds and chart with a drill song with ‘Air Force’. Yet drill is but a fraction of the picture and the names mentioned so far are just the easiest names to draw for. If I were to write a list of South London’s musical heavy hitters, we would be here for quite a while - I mean even Adele’s from South London she wrote ‘Hometown Glory’ about West Norwood. We very much know the story of drill, largely due to the negative press surrounding it and the controversy internally that forces you to learn a bit of history once you get into it. But we need to tell some more stories from South London because you really can’t be sleeping on some of the talent. Carns Hill is a name you almost certainly recognise. He is the producer behind a large number of your favourite artists and has been for a long time. Before he became the architect of 67’s sound he established himself as the producer for the streets by fostering some of the best South London talent. Setting up Hills Productions, Carns is one person who when it comes to UK music you have to mention. Even beyond developing producers like Loco, Cease, and Shellz he played a huge role in the careers of Youngs Teflon and Blade Brown who are heavyweights in their own right. Add to this roster Mental K, K Trap, SDG, Reekz MB, 86 and it’s a wonder we don’t speak about Carns more.

Legitimately if South London was to put on a festival with only home-grown artists it might just be the best and most authentic festival musically. Speaking a little more on Tinie Tempah and G Frsh who are now senior team members at Disturbing London we can see some diversity in vocations. Not only were the two extremely musically gifted, with G Frsh having the most slept on project of all time in Alfie, they also had a mind for business. Sticking to their musical fields they have turned Disturbing London into a powerhouse with man in charge Dumi Oburota. Taking the brand from just a label to an creative, events and fashion force, they are examples of South London’s talent within the back end of the music industry. Add to this drills’ only dedicated label Finesse Foreva being founded in Croydon and Krept & Konan opening Crepes & Cones, South London cannot be slept on. Whether it is music, music business, or even business by musicians South is a pioneer. It’s more than just the butt of jokes and negative stigma, it is a musical powerhouse that churns out hits and hitmakers. The stigma South London faces is based on being notorious for a lot of negatives. But I would argue that we need to change the way we think about this. South London should be seen as somewhere notorious for creating talent despite the struggle. SMN/Heathset, and Gipset are names that locally in South London are probably known very well. They arguably should be even more well known because of who they produced. Whilst being gangs with several members ending up locked up or killed, they have been responsible for some of the best and most diverse talent in the UK.

Add in the stars who didn’t come up through a collective like that and we’ve got Tinie Tempah, G Frsh, Dave, H Moneda, A2, Octavian, Yung Fume, Jords, Badside, and more.

“south London should b notorious forcr despite the


Bonkaz, Dotty, Krept & Konan, Cadet, and even by extension Stormzy and Section Boyz are products of these groups, and there has been struggle within that journey. Bonkaz of SMN/Heathset has been locked up before and his past saw him receive public backlash and a loss of label support. Konan also served time in jail as well as having tragically lost his step father when two armed gunmen came to his family home, suspected of looking for him, but instead only found his mother and step father Carlton Ned who was killed at the scene. Yet despite these setbacks that would break most people they rose above it. Krept went to university and got a degree, Konan came out of jail andpushed the music harder than ever with Krept and you know the rest of their story. Crepes & Cones, multiple hit songs, sold out tours, the PD Foundation, and also importantly Play Dirty as a business. Play Dirty is especially important as it has given opportunities to their friends who have equally not had it easy. Bouncer, also a former member of Gipset, served a stretch in jail and came back to join Play Dirty as an artist manager. The first person he was responsible for – DigDat. Whilst Cadet has tragically passed recently in a car crash his legacy will live on forever through his music, he was again from the Gipset camp and even more recently released a song as an ode to the group named ‘Gipset Flow’. Bonkaz has bounced back as well with several incredible releases and freestyles since his label troubles and has an eagerly anticipated album on the way..

Yet after numerous tours and performances as well as a collaboration project with Chris Brown and OHB, and 3 of their own, projects they were hit with a legal battle that put them on an almost two-year hiatus from being able to release music. This was due to somebody else registering the IPO for the name Section Boyz whilst they only registered for a trademark on the name. After this prolonged period of not being able to release under the Section Boyz name and the legal battle dragging on they decided for a name change and became Smoke Boys. Following this name change they did an NFTR interview that went viral and explained this in more detail as well as used it as a chance to announce their return with the release of Don’t Panic 2. Yet these are not the only examples of South London artists rising above their pasts PDC, Gas Gang, and OC were also synonymous with crime. All from the Brixton areas they’re offshoots today have become stars and legends. PDC front man and founder Jaja Soze is a community legend who left the street life to pursue music and eventually doing work within his own community to combat the troubles he grew up in. Honourable mention here to Ty Nizzy also of PDC who also has the title of being the father of Harlem Spartans’ lead man Loski. Gas Gang and OC are responsible for Sneakbo, Political Peak, Ard Adz, Shallow, 150 and 67.

Whilst notoriously having feuds despite being from the same area and being in such close proximity, 150 and 67 Special mentions here to Smoke Boys who have memare offshoots of groups that were once united. This area bers spanning across various collectives including GMG in particular has been onenotorious for trouble and these but have long outgrown their gang affiliated pasts. As a artists are no exception with members of 67 and 150 both collective they have faced several struggles some of the having been locked up at various times, as well as Sneakmost notable being a core member leaving and the biggest bo serving time. Yet now all are successful artists with being a legal battle for their own name that put them on Sneakbo being the most notable, and arguably a pioneer a musical hiatus. Previously Squeeze Section and later in his own right for his blending of dancehall and bashment Section Boyz, Smoke Boys became a breath of fresh air with rap. 67 equally have the label of being pioneers in and quickly rose to the scenes top tier when they released the fledgling drill scene and as currently the most notable ‘Delete My Number’. Yet after numerous tours and perfor- faces from the area. 150 are having a re-emergence now mances as well as a collaboration project with Chris Brown largely since Grizzy has come out of jail and been attackand OHB, and 3 of their own, projects they were hit with ing the music with a vengeance almost as if to make it up a legal battle that put them on an almost two-year hiatus to fans for 150 not being able to capitalise on their early from being able to release music. success, which was largely due to members getting jail time.

be seen as somewhere reating talent e struggle.“


SN1 and PYG were once synonymous with terrorising anywhere they went, now they are synonymous with being the breakthrough in rap. Giggs, Joe Grind, Kyze, and Tiny Boost are all members of this group, yet all are managing to achieve. Tiny Boost a man who has been in and out of jail for long stretches is back now and with a vengeance – only this time it’s the industry he’s coming for. Kyze a man who has equally served time has managed to do quite well for himself in music despite dipping in and out of it over the years. Joe Grind has developed from musician into a businessman. And then there is Giggs, The Landlord, Hollowman. Regardless of what you call him he is a legend and one of, if not, the most important artists in this country’s rap journey. Having to overcome the odds multiple times, serving jail time, having to constantly deal deal with police shutting down shows, Giggs is the definition of overcoming the struggle. ‘Talkin Da Hardest’ will forever be the UKs unofficial national anthem, and his debut project Walk In Da Park shook up the industry and propelled it onto the course we now sit on. This isn’t even detailing half of the struggles of some of these artists, some I didn’t even get to cover like Stormzy, Youngs Teflon, D-Block Europe, Blade Brown, K Trap, Roadside G’s, and more. But it is yet another clear reminder that the struggles South London brings to their artists are nothing in comparison to what they achieve. Add into this that GUAP itself was founded and operates from offices in South London and what more do we need to say. A true testament and a fitting place to close this on is with a king who has battled countless struggles in his life but has just achieved the ultimate goal. Dave, of Streatham, debuted his very first album, Psychodrama, at number one in the UK official album charts. Not the rap or R&B charts, the album charts that judges across the spectrum. South London must never be slept on, and when you speak of it you should do so with the respect it deserves.



What is your name, age and what do you do? Kimbo, 16, and I am an artist, crowd controller, life lover. How did you get in to this? I’ve always been a lover of music, but like most people I was just messing around with friends, going to the studio from time to time. After a period of time I realised it was something I was naturallygood at and wanted to take seriously.

Words by FLORA SCOTT Photography by FLORA SCOTT

What keeps you going? Love for music. Love for performing on stage. The energy in the studio & the feeling of creating something from scratch that people who have never met you can relate to and enjoy. Having the opportunity to provide for myself and loved ones. There are loads of reasons but these are the main ones that stick out for me. When people think of you, what do you want hem to think? Good quality music. I am young but I would like people to listen to my music with an open ear, I like to describe my sound as melting pot of urban genres. Hip hop, R&B, Afrobeats. As well as this, one word I like use is “fun”. I’m that guy that’s cool with everyone I come into contact with, and I want that message to come across in my music. What does success look like to you? Having a loyal fan base all over the world that can relate to my music. Being able to go a coutry I have never been to before and just vibes on stage together with a large audience.






The duo responsible for the UK’s cultural bridge in US sound. Jamo is one of London’s most prolific upcoming DJ’s, being Rejjie Snow’s DJ as well as featuring on pretty much every poster across London. While Seshie runs IAMNEXT platform, an events and gig company - providing a spotlight for an array of London artists and acts as the hype-man/host for all of these gigs (incl. Octavian, House Of Pharaohs, Yung Fume, Nafe Smallz etc). As a pair they are solely responsible for introducing hot American hip hop artists into the UK, opening the show and getting the audience hyped - the energy at one of their events is electric. So far they’ve done this for Sheck Wes, Migos, 6IX9INE, Denzel Curry, Sahbabii, Ski Mask Slump God, Killy, Rich the Kid, A$AP Tyy etc. and Jay Critch (Hood Favourite)


Everything cktrl touches truly turns to gold. His 2012 debut at the Boiler Room cemented him a position as an up-and-coming producing extraordinaire on the urban UK independent music scene, earning him residencies and shows across the globe. From Art Basel in Miami to Kitsunē in Paris to NTS Radio in Hackey, his artistry has made him a household name, landing him in the same room working alongside a few R&B elites like Sampha and Kelela. If one thing IS for sure, cktrl aka Bradley Miller is ready to go global. Proudly flying the flag for south-east London, Miller over the last couple years has continuously delivered bop after bop of pure R&B excellence, debuting some of music’s most promising and rising singers. His latest body of work, the COLOUR EP, is purely sublime and another addition to his legacy. As his successes continue to grow daily alongside his skill set and determination, it’s becoming more evident that Miller is in a league of his own. I caught up with my cktrl to discuss the COLOUR EP, being an independent artist, inspirations, the future and much more. Congratulations on the release of your first EP COLOUR. What inspired the creation of the new project and what’s the meaning behind this new sound? The COLOUR EP features four tracks - three songs and one instrumental which derives from a track off the same name from his first mixtape ‘INDi’. Each song moulds a new chapter and journey in my life as an independent artist. If you go back and mute each part of the original song (Colour) separately from the original beat, there was something unique about each layer of it. I wanted to go a bit deeper into that and try it at different speeds to see what it would be like with vocals on it. Between the release of Butterflies back in December to your most recent release of Get Up in January, which was a single collab with US singer Ophie, when did you start developing the idea of doing this EP? I started formulating the idea of this EP at the end of January. I’m always making music and decided to start mixing vocals myself and start playing around with different sounds and stuff to create a whole new vibe. Usually I’ll have someone mix vocals for me but I’ve started doing it myself so Butterflies, Get Up and COLOUR is all me mixing vocals myself. I knew I wanted to do more EPs this year, I just need to figure out what songs worked and what didn’t for the project. Obviously, last year, I released a lot of R&B from the S4G PLAYLIST to Butterflies so I knew that this year for me would be the year of the EPs. I’m always making projects and now it’s all about putting it out in a palatable longer projects.

You face a lot of ups and downs being an independent creative. How has that helped shape you not just as an individual but as an artist? There is a lot that comes with being an independent artist. For me, it’s all about creating a storyfor yourself. Having that creative freedom to release whatever I want, whenever I want is just a small factor of what being an independent artist is all about. I’ve got the freedom to express myself, which is something most artists aren’t capable of, especially when you’re signed to a label. There’s no one in your ear telling you what to do or what your sound should be like. You’re the only person in control of your vision. The downside side to it is how you’ve got to control your own channels and networks in terms of promo, to make sure it’s heard in the right way. When your signed to a label, you have a consistent listenership because there’s always people behind your music from the label constantly plugging it, there’s always money being pumped into it. So sometimes, you always feel as an independent artist like you need to go higher than you was previously, push harder than before because it’s just you. Your approach to how you release music is different from other artists. What’s your process and how do you prepare? I like feel some artists just want to put singles out and that’s it. That’s the one and only vibe you get from them. Being that I’m independent, I always change what it is that I’m doing and that’s because I don’t want to over do it. I naturally make what I make and I wanna be able to naturally put it out when I’m ready and if it might be a little bit left or right, you have the choice to enjoy it. My process is simple...put it out when I’m ready. You are known for collaboration with some dope females on your projects including your sister Elle, Wynter, Manna, Ophie and many more. Is there any female artists that you’d love to work with? Teyana Taylor. That’s it. No one else. Oh and obviously Beyoncé. What does the future hold for you? More future projects? When’s the next EP dropping? I don’t wanna give too much away but there’s definitely a lot coming this year. Like I mentioned, more music, more EPs, more shows. Keep watching cause it’s gonna be a mad one. You can stream cktrl’s new EP COLOUR and all his other music on all streaming platforms.




cktrl 43



Meet Boadi, a London based soulful artist with influences from R&B, Jazz and Afrobeats creating his own lane in the UK music scene. Starting his career in music from the age of 17 he decided to use music as his form of escape and embark on a journey that would inevitably change his life forever. With all eyes on artists who are creating distinction and eclectic music, Boadi joins the pack as a must watch. Orignially from Ghana but raised in South London, the artist has released a number of projects that has firmly placed his position in the scene. From his first project release ‘Bwer-Dee’ back in 2016 and ‘AwoMaa’ in 2017 to his killer Colors Berlin debut performing his single ‘AwoMaa’ which reached over 570k views he has been on a roll ever since. Today he is back with new single ‘All I need’ and more. We catch up with him to discuss, life, music and Ghana. How did you get into music? I've always sung from an early age mimicking what I would hear on the radio but it wasn't until I was 17 that I decided to take it seriously. I would say it became my way to escape and be myself. Why the name Boadi? Boadi is my middle name, I was named after my late grandfather. What has been the best highlight since getting into music? I would say probably supporting Alexandra O'niel at The Jazz Cafe. I remember doing open mics in pubs a few years back in the Camden area! So to be playing 4 nights at the jazz cafe was amazing. Who inspires you? So many people as I get older the list gets longer but the likes of James Brown, Kojo Antwi, D'angledo, Sade, Ebo Taylor, Bob Marley, Prince, Marvin Gaye and Al Green to name a few. How does being from Ghana come into your music? From a young age I only really listen to music from Ghana. so I think subconsciously its a big makeup of my musical DNA What is one goal you have for 2019? New music. How would you describe your sound? Soul music! with RnB, funk, afrobeat and jazz influences


Anyone you would like to work with? Sade


Melle Brown is a name that we at GUAP are very familiar with. From presenting a ‘new age smooth show’ as one half of Brown X Blue on Reprezent radio alongside co-host Blue Canariñho to producing, singing and writing her own music, Melle continues to grow her presence in the music industry. Back in 2017 with the release of her debut EP, ‘Blossom’, which fuses soul, jazz and R&B she made her mark as a producer to watch. Today she has worked with BBC 1Xtra powerhouse, Jamz Supernova and Future Bounce for the release of her new single ‘Background noise ‘and upcoming EP , Intersection (amongst many things).We catch up with Melle to discus life, music and what’s to come for 2019.



How did you get into music? From a young age I have loved music and theatre and in my early teens I started a few courses at the Roundhouse, Camden in the summer holidays, one of them was Music Production. I fell in love with the concept of making something musical that has never been heard/made before. What has been the best highlight since getting into music? I have a few, but I would have to say playing main stage at the Roundhouse, which is where it all began for me. I was one of a few acts opening for Little Simz at her “Welcome To Wonderland” festival and seeing my name on the line up with the likes of Rapsody was mad. Not to mention I got called to DJ for VanJess 20 minutes before they went on stage. Who inspires you? I’m largely inspired by my family and friends around me who have supported me every step of the way. Musically/production wise I’m obsessed with Kaytranada, Snarky Puppy, Robert Glasper, Sam Gellaitry, Roche Music & Soulection. You can’t forget The Neptune and J Dilla. How would you describe your sound? I’d like to think my sound carries consistent echoes of dance music, from it’s sequencing to the choice of samples, tempo and sounds. All in all I would say it is a Fusion of genres from House, Neo-Soul and Jazz - lifting elements of each to forge a familiar, yet fresh sound that’s distinctive. What is one goal you have for 2019? I see the stats from my tracks being played in cities I hadn’t even know would like my music so would love to get booked abroad to play! Particularly would love to DJ a real nice soulful house sunset set on a beach somewhere with music lovers who just enjoying the tunes and having a great time.




As I'm sat on the victoria line making me my way to speak with artist Fontzerelli, who for the record, has made mad waves in the creative and musical scene, for those that don't know him? It's time you do. His humble beginnings started by growing up in the prime time of Grime at the heart of the scene, in London. Contributing to the early emergence of renowned events like The Jump Off, whilst working with artists like Jessie J and Ed Sheeran at the start of their career. Fontzerelli has now began to pursue his own path in music with a new age of rap feel and heavy hip hop to shaking it up with African/Caribbean Influence. Keen to know what gems the self described performing artist will be dropping is where I find myself right now. With little to no need in directing the conversation, Fontzerelli takes a second to gather his thoughts before letting loose at full pelt with his story. Who is Fontzerelli? I’ll try and make a long story short, I’m a performing artist, that has come full circle, I started off in a group. It was me with one of my best friend’s from school, my older brother and younger cousin. Then I was in a duo doing songwriting and production, and we wanted to start a new sound. Something for us and what we were into. We contributed to early careers and brought people to their first beginnings like working with JME, Professor Green, Labrinth and international artists like Nas and Roc Nation. How did this journey start? I’ve always wanted to be in a group, and I always wanted to perform. I knew I had the calling for this.

The biggest thing is just being comfortable in your own skin.My teacher in school use to always say I was beyond my years, I had James brown fascination, and he was in his prime like 70’s 80’s. Where I come from a lot of people have fear and for me it's just about being natural I can go from Celine Dion to Jodeci and feel no way. Everything can't’ just be one way, you know? I’m originally from Jamaica, but I grew up in England. I’m so proud of my culture and roots. Without being too stush, because I have a strong Caribbean influence. There’s only a portion of my influence that comes from the city (London). I knew of stuff around like what was happening but I wasn’t really into say grime when it first was a thing, and I discovered the 140 bpm, and I could still make grime, but I just was never really fully into it. Youth clubs was more of a thing to hear the grime sound. I think the U.K sound in general is bringing more versatile tracks in music now than before though. What does your future look like? One of the main things for me is bringing my music to a wider audience, because I just feel like todays time is a bit samey. In all due respect, I just wanna bring back the musicality of music and especially as a lover of hip hop but I’m just about trying to have a little more substance. Bringing a new element and sonic. And if I’m honest I would love to own my own farm – and bring back some agriculture. One of the main things is to continue to be working on my Nu age Nubian brand, which is a creative hub that promotes music, fashion fotography (with an ‘f’) and food. So I just wanna make sure the clothing is popping.

My Sister who went and done 2 year research, looked up or family tree and ancestry. It just made What advice would you to give someone starting out in music or the creative industry? me see all those people with my last name and I started to see certain influences naturally. I honestIn all honesty keeping it all the way 100. Before ly just knew this is in my DNA. you pursue your craft, go and strengthen yourself and get yourself balanced and know who you are. Who are the warriors that inspire you? Understand balance. You’ll come against some There’s a top three for me and that’s Jodeci, Kriss serious hardship and you have to be ready. But without being too philosophical, people wanna hear Kross and Big Daddy Kane. the same thing but it’s not that easy. Big daddy Kane because I just resonated with how he was, like mad fly and he just had everything on You have to be ready for airing rejection but you swag. Wearing a suit brought showmanship to hip also have to master your craft and own your talent. hop. It was so striking, but above all he is just a ‘You can make it anywhere, you don’t always have dope MC and that was the glue. to make it in your back garden’. What inspires your sound? The biggest thing is just being comfortable in your






O O O O R R N N O O M OMM C How was common roots founded?

James Brunell: “Common roots started back when Franc and I met in middle school and started recording our own music at the youth club, selling our mix tapes at school, and uploading freestyles/home made music videos on Facebook and YouTube. Tanaka also grew up in the same area. We then went our separate ways for uni - I went to Guildford and Francis went to Bristol where he met Jamie.B and Sean Cull as well as other musicians.

As independent artists, we ultimately aim to carry everything in house, from editing our videos, to the recording and engineering of the music. We’re basically trying to build a sustained network of creative individuals, all with the same vision and direction, more or less.”

Franc Rapper/Producer Engineer

James Brunell Artist/Producer Guitar Player

Sean Cull Songwriter Business Development Tanaka Producer/Engineer/ Rapper

Franc: “After a year in Bristol, I moved to London and met Baby Pink. Baby Pink knew and 97 from college, and we all started making music together. We then met Mezzy at a house party in Stratford and Iman at a uni talent show in Mile End. Eventually we all ended up in London with the exception of Jamie.B still living in Bristol but regularly commuting back to his home town of London to join everyone else there for shows, meetings, and collaborative creative endeavours.

MC/So Gra Baby Pink Singer/ Songwriter Project Manager


How would you describe common roots?

Jamie.B: “I would say we’re a group of unique, yet likeminded individuals who have the same interests - this allows us to come together and create collectively. When it comes to inspirations, we all have our personal idols, but we also have very similar tastes in artists -particularly within hip hop, soul and R&B - we’re all from different places but are on a similar wavelength - We’ve always had an unspoken connection when it came to working creatively.”



Any upcoming projects/shows?

Mezzy: “There’s quite a few projects in the works!” Baby-Pink: “So we’re trying to consistently drop music at the moment. Out latest single ‘Buckshot’ is on streaming services alongside the video on YouTube. We also have a bunch of shows In London ending with a headline show.” “Also, everyone is dropping individual projects this year as well as a number of joint tapes from Common Roots. We’re working towards a collective project in the future. I won’t say much more about that, but it is on the way!”

Iman Lake Singer/ Songwriter Project Manager

Mezzy Singer/ Songwriter/Producer Project Manager Distribution & Marketing ongwriter/Producer aphic Designer

S S T T O O O O R R N MON M O C 97 Artist Artist Direction Lyricist Artist Direction

“We collectively have a common aim, for expanding our artistry and the unique vibe that we all have through individual artistry ourselves; In an evolving age of record labels, were working to break the status quo.” 51

Story by Maureen Kargbo Photography by Jodian Bruce Edited by Maureen Kargbo and Jodian Bruce Photograpy Asistance: Tineka Ashley-Graham Set Design by Nana Minho and Monique Munroe


'Straight Out the Womb' explores the beautiful process of a woman’s pregnancy, mainly focusing on what happens inside the uterus. With the story starting the moment an egg is fertilised by one sperm cell, an emphasis is placed on the power of the egg. As the biggest cell in a human’s body, she sits pretty, not worried about a thing while thousands of sperm cells all race against each other just to find her. FERTILISATION is a testimony to the innate power of the female.



FIRST AND SECOND TRIMESTER breeds intimacy and delicacy as this is one of the most crucial stagesin pregnancy. Many women can face complications during this stage where, statistically, 1 in 4 women miscarry in the UK. During this period, the embryo develops into a fetus as the baby’s organs and important body parts begin to develop and eventually the bump makes an appearance.


The last three months during pregnancy marks the point where the baby has made most of its major developments and has grown significantly, meaning less space within the womb. THIRD TRIMESTER draws refeence from Aerial Fabric Dancing; a form of performative dance which gracefully portrays impeccable strength and growth in movement while being restricted by the external material. This is what the fetus demonstrates in the womb within the last stage of pregnancy.




Modelled by Oyin Carew [@oyincarew_] Josh Akapo [@jalekapo] Junior Delius [@junior.delius] Shaun Flores [@theshaunflores]

The arrival of a child into the world is a moment The child into the world is a moment no mother the no arrival motherof aever forgets. CHILDBIRTH displays ever forgets. CHILDBIRTH displays the double-edged sword double-edged sword of maternity. The birth of a newof maternity. The birth of a newborn is a blessing and one of born is a blessing and one of the best gifts life has to offer. the best gifts life has to offer. However, this moment is preceded by what seems However, this moment is preceded by what like a like a lifetime of pain. Labour pain seems is one of the lifetime of pain. Labour pain is one of the most intense a most intense pains a human being can pains experihuman being can experience. Period. It is an experience that ence. Period. It is an experience that should never be should never be or belittled. have undermined or undermined belittled. We shouldWeallshould haveall respect respect for this pain as without it, none of us would be here. for this pain as without it, none of us would be here.

Unfortunately, it is also an experience that some do not see through, for both mother and child. The world has seen a drop in the maternal death rate but there are still 830 women on average who die every day from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes. That’s one woman every two minutes. CHILDBIRTH is a shout out to all the strong women and mothers of the world. We










NASHEEBA Creative Direction by: SHEENA BROBBEY Photography by: OLIVIA EMA Styling by FELICIA BROWN Make up by BRYANNA ANGEL Produced by: BLESSING ABDUL Model - NASHEEBA







“Design-a-Life to Design-a-Live� explores the idea of human branding which is fed through human consumption and the fast fashion of Hypebeast culture. These cultures have seen a collaboration with high-end brands and luxury streetwear. We appointed four girls to four different brands, delving into the persuasion of consumerism whilst displaying the luxurious appetising side of this market/ generation. "


















CΣO Paris Paris X X Kida Kida Kudz Kudz Collection’ Collection’ -CΣO Theme Of Of `collection `collection -- The The Act Act of of Spades Spades Theme

CEO Paris a clothing brand taking the ACE of SPACE card to infinite heights. With a new collection being inspired by the child prodigy and hitmaker Kida Kudz the face of the campaign. This collection has a twist as the designer Fehinti Adesiyan decided to use the image of Jesus rather than the typical image of kings and queens, purifying the game. With the slime green hairstyle, Kida Kudz couldn’t have been a better choice, representing the whole theme from bottom to top. CEO are not done yet as they have let us into a little secret, which is there are more collaborations in the works and bigger names to come.






For Mula - Orange Windbreaker


Cozy Nation - Lucid Dreams Hoodie| Cozy Utility Gilet | Cozy Tartan Jogger | Neon String Cozy Cap

MIA ldn - MIA Silk Two Piece


Photography by IBRAHIM KAMARA Creative Direction by REGINA JAIY Model DEJ ELLIS


Sharing a condition with Vincent Van Gogh: living with Visual Snow Syndrome as a 21st Century creative Words by AJI AYORINDE Photography by SABERSCOPE Interview by AJI AYORINDE



The daughter of two immigrants - an Iraqi father and a Palestinian-Syrian mother, 21 year-old Rafah Mohammed is a multi-lingual painter, student and aspiring poet living with an incredibly rare eye condition called Visual Snow Syndrome [link] still yet to be recognised by many mainstream doctors. Those affected find their vision is busied by a kind of snow, or television-like static, sometimes accompanied by lights or other afterimages that “linger like a visual hangover” [link]. With less than 200 documented cases globally [link], help for it is not currently available on the NHS, but Rafah is not allowing this to impact her creativity. An avid painter, she has drawn inspiration from Vincent Van Gogh [link] and decided to recognise the uniqueness of her condition and how this allows her to paint things that no-one else will ever be able to see. “I moved to London aged 9 from Netherlands. Due to war, I’ve never been able to visit any of the countries that my parents emigrated from.” Responding to the question “Who is Rafah Mohammed” - hesitating momentarily - her face lights up as she decides upon her approach:

She goes on to explain that she has always had a working diary of things that she wanted to do with her life and that being diagnosed with visual snow syndrome in February 2017 hasn’t stopped these plans. “It sometimes replicates a lot of the symptoms of having a migraine. Whilst I look at you now I can see my white blood cells in the sky, my eye protein over you, constant static, images, flashing lights.” Rafah is balancing her creativity with a degree in International Development at the University of East Anglia. “I am currently at university and not receiving any of the adjustments that someone with such a condition should get.” She goes on to describe how there have unfortunately been four student suicides at her university this year and how this is indicative of insufficient attention being paid to serious issues.

“It is this feeling of justice being taken away through the lens of disability discrimination that encourages me to return to creativity, as an outlet.” She describes the challenges she has faced and how it has affected a lot of things but has actually made her resilient and allowed her to thrive creatively. She paints a beautiful picture of how her condition may actually be one of her biggest gifts as she is able to create art that no-one else will ever be able to see and to create it in a completely different way to everyone else. “A lot of people don’t know this but Vincent Van Gogh [link] also had visual snow syndrome - when he is painting the ‘stars in the sky’, he is actually painting what his visual snow allows him to see”. The way that Rafah has managed and continues to manage to find positives in what she deals with certainly does not take away from the gravity of the condition. “As with most neurological conditions, there is a spectrum of disability, and some patients do find the phenomenon disabling... this is especially true

“I’m quite shy and reserved naturally. I’ve always been a dreamer, so I knew exactlY where I wanted to end up - despite everything.” 84

at the onset of the syndrome” says specialist Victoria S. Pelak, MD, FAAN, professor of neurology and ophthalmology and director of the neuro-ophthalmology fellowship at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

his toughest soldiers. Rest in peace Grenfell. I promise you, you’ll never be forgotten. God’s little soldiers.

With visual snow being a condition that is so rare, Rafah recounts her luck at being diagOverlayed with transcendental racial discrimination, nosed by a Swedish doctor, with specialism in hostility, and having to continue to navigate a patri- the area, who happened to be temporarily visarchal system not designed in her favour, the barri- iting Moorfields - the hospital that she checked ers to professional and creative success that Rafah herself into once the symptoms started to faces can be very tough to overcome. In the context show. of racial discrimination, she speaks about the Grenfell tragedy [link], how it affected her personally and “Most doctors don’t recognise this as a real how disappointed she is in the way that the govern- thing and it’s not on the NHS”. She then proment has handled things, before recounting a poem vides some tips for others who may be living with visual snow syndrome without realising it: that she wrote about it:

For all who have forgotten this is a reminder. Grenfell did not happen too long ago. The majority of people who were murdered in Grenfell were from ethnic minorities. Notice I use the word ‘murdered’. £10 million supposedly used for refurbishment. Instead used for cheap cladding. So that the sight doesn’t offend the almighty rich, white, and wealthy of Chelsea and Kensington. “This was a terrible tragedy that took place,” says Theresa May. No Theresa this wasn’t some natural disaster. Usually, you can come up with names like tic tac’s in an hour. When it’s a terrorist attack you attack any followers of Allah. But when the victims don’t have your shade of skin its a ‘tragedy’ a true sin. But sinners don’t always roam the streets at night, no just hand any Tory politician a mirror so they can see their own sight. Among them, an immigrant family from Syria just having escaped a fire to be trapped in an inferno. Politicians making more money increasing their salaries yet we couldn’t put aside £5k for Grenfell families. And instead watched people scream from their windows. Guess you never wanted them in your boroughs. Among them Khadija Saye a young artist. Among them children and innocents. Theresa there’s one thing I’d like to say to you. You might have your wealth of armour now. Your laughing yes men and caviar. But there’s a place that Grenfell victims went that you can’t buy your way into. Heaven Theresa, cos’ trust me this is nothing compared to the palace of God. They say God gives his toughest battles to 85

“You’re not not normal, you’re okay. You just have a condition that is not known in the mainstream but should be taken as seriously as any other disability.” A frustrated Rafah goes on to remind us that “people not making reasonable adjustments for your visual snow syndrome (oftentimes just requiring text to be displayed on a blue screen) is just like taking a wheelchair away from someone.” A calmer and more relaxed Rafah then turns onto the topic of her mental health, and how this affected her creative journey as a painter. “My paintings are a direct reflection and expression of what I feel and see. At one point as a teenager, my paintings became very dark and that scared me... I had to take a break and come back to it.” She goes onto describe how taking control of one’s anxiety can ensure that it doesn’t dictate your life or stand as a block to your creativity. “I feel like taking control of my anxiety allowed me to regain a part of myself that I never thought I lost.” We finish with a discussion on where she sees her creative journey taking her: “We don’t really speak about how creativity can be channeled into technology, but one thing that my condition has given me is the ability to code. The way that I see things is incredibly unique - I’m not the greatest mathematician, but I managed to self-teach myself how to code in two weeks, create a programme and do some art with that. I see it opening doors for me.”


Malorie Bantala Words by BONITA DARKOH Interview by BONITA DARKOH Photography by SHENELL KENNEDY


Malorie Bantala, Founder of OWNIT.ORG from South London has curated a platform to increase awareness on reproductive health. As a Reproductive Rights Campaigner, she seeks to educate women under the age of 30 on reproductive rights and coercion. This topic is not arguably discussed as much as it should be, and Malorie looks to change this narrative by creating a safe space for women to gain this knowledge. We had the opportunity to catch up with Malorie to gain an understanding of her inspiration, and where she looks to take OWNIT.ORG in the future.

However, consistency is something that I’m definitely focused on improving. OWNIT is my second baby and I know that if I put 1000% focus into it, it’ll help many women. “Surviving the new normal” tell us more about this event, and how people will be able to benefit from attending? It’s no secret that I suffered a stillbirth at 21 and for me the experience was lonely & isolating. The reality is most people at that age are concerned about superficial things and are not emotionally equipped to handle such a tragedy. Unfortunately, I’m not alone and I remembered how the experience made me feel, all I wanted was to meet other people my age who could relate to my experience.

What is the purpose of OWNIT.ORG? The purpose of the platform is to give young women the opportunity to discuss and learn more about reproductive health, reproductive rights as well as the use of coercion. In society now, this topic can often be misunderstood and can even be a taboo, especially within ethnic communities. We often feel embarrassed to openly discuss and issues we may face, which is why OWNIT.ORG provides a comfortable space for women to share their experiences.”

So I decided to organise Surviving the new “normal”, which is a workshop aimed at women under 30 who have experience child loss, whether it be from miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death. My aim is to help women learn how to manage their grief in a healthy way - also they will have a unique experience of meeting women of their age group that they are able to relate to. I’ve collaborated with a professional coach Shai Kurji (@compass_coach) to help provide coaching tools during the workshop. I’ve purposely decided to keep the numbers small and intimate because I want women to feel comfortable opening up.

What is your motivation behind OWNIT.ORG? I ran a campaign in 2018 using the hashtag #amendCDlaw to raise awareness on the Child Destruction legislation which was introduced in 1929 as part of the Infant Life Act. I noticed that most women that I came across didn’t know their reproductive rights or how the law could protect them. This was the initial motivation behind OWNIT.ORG. Also, I noticed there was a niche in the market and instead of complaining I did something about it. Destruction legislation which was introduced in 1929 as part of the Infant Life Act. I noticed that most women that I came across didn’t know their reproductive rights or how the law could protect them. This was the initial motivation behind OWNIT.ORG. Also, I noticed there was a niche in the market and instead of complaining I did something about it.

What do you have planned for the future/ how do you look to expand OWNIT.ORG? I don’t want to plan too far ahead, I want to see how/where things go and whatever direction God takes me I’ll follow. There’s definitely more to come from OWNIT.ORG so watch this space.

Have you had the opportunity to connect with women that have benefited from organisations/ services like OWNIT.ORG? No, not yet. I must admit I haven’t been consistent since I launched it due to personal circumstances.




DRUMMER @chloerianna

FRESH FACES When paving the path to success we all have to start somewhere. As young creatives it can be difficult getting your name or work out there and gaining visibility, which can be disheartening when you’re grinding hard. So we caught up with 13 talented individuals to shed light on upcoming artists, musicians, actors, models and stylists we believe need to be seen and heard, exposing them to a whole new demographic of people they can connect with and bridging the gap between the usual faces that get to be in the spotlight. 90







Words by TERNA JOGO Photography by TERNA JOGO Concept by GORAN GBO Casting by GORAN GBO Video by IBRAHIM KAMARA










Monique Atherley






Jay Akran







Luke Olutunmogun




@luketunmogun @saintshugi












ACTRESS @ozi_xo



Why Wait for A New


When You Can Create It?

Words by B Interview by Photography by

Video by IBRAHIM KAMARA Interview by BONITA DARKOH Photography by IBRAHIM KAMARA Words by BONITA DARKOH Claudia Namu, Media Professional and Presenter shares how she changed her narrative by seeking new opportunities. Initially she worked within an industry where she did not feel fulfilled, Claudia made the brave decision to stop working and really focus on breaking into the Media Industry. During this time, she proactively networked with individuals within the industry, secured a new role and found a newpassion. After University, Claudia knew she wanted to also pursue presenting and used her impeccable networking skills to make this happen! Since graduating Claudia has successfully presented for VOXAfrica, Congo Awards 2018, Talent Network and has her new radio show Level up with Claudia Namu currently on radio station Pulse 88.0.





What has been your best experience so far?

Talented Visual Storyteller, Lolly shares how she created her own platform to gain creative freedom. Initially Lolly started with photography, which led to her filming and now directing content. Autonomy when creating work was important to Lolly, which drove her to curate her platform LollyComms. Since the birth of her LC she has successfully worked with BkChat, Wande Coal and had her photography featured in the Metro.

What motivated you to start LollyComms Visuals? “Lolly” is my name and & “Comms” is my ability to use visuals to create a feeling, whether it’s through photography or film. The start of my journey in creating visuals stemmed from my inability to be creative whilst I was working a 9 to 5. Now it’s a blessing to be doing this fulltime. What is your motivation behind curating content? One side of my motivation comes from my love of storytelling. The other side comes from wanting to see more women in media production - behind the camera. It’s not a secret that it’s a heavily male-dominated industry, however I hope to spark a change by encouraging other women to pursue a career in this line of work.

My best experience so far has been stepping into music video directing. It’s a challenge and that’s what makes it exciting. In the past 3 months I’ve directed various projects and every single one has been a different experience. I’m enjoying it - especially seeing the process through from treatment to release.

What obstacles have you faced as a freelance creative? My biggest obstacle comes when having to step into the something new. Overcoming self-doubt can be a struggle at times, but once I do it, I feel so fulfilled. As a creative, it is so important to keep pushing those barriers and stretching yourself to achieve more. What advice would you give to those aspiring to create their own brand? Be authentic. Think about what makes you, you - cos that is what will be reflected in your art. Enjoy the journey. It’s the best part - learning, winning, failing, the hustle etc. It’s so humbling when you can look back and see how far you have progressed. Is there anything exciting coming up that we should know about? A lot coming this year! 2019 has been a good year so far, and I’m excited for what’s to come.



Please introduce yourself, and how you got into photography? My name is Paula Abu, I’m 21 and I’m a photographer. I grew up going to the cinema a lot so I’ve always enjoyed film. I then got a camera for my 18th birthday and started taking photos then. I’ve been shooting properly since 2017. After a while I started posting my photos on my spcial media and just went from there. I’m also studying pharmacy in Nottingham. How would you describe your style of photography? I would say my style is fashion and editorial. But I feel like fashion/editorial content can be unrealistic sometimes. So I try to create photos that combine a high end and grounded feel. It’s a mixture of the honest aspects of a documentary style but still as big and grand as fashion and editorial work. It’s real and honest.

#guapmeets NARCOGRAPHY

Did you encounter any setbacks on your journey? Yeah, most of all was questioning myself, asking if this could actually go somewhere. I also realised that social media engagement doesn’t always translate to money – this was hard to navigate. Finding a way to monetise this was the biggest setback to overcome.I also had a number of people commenting on my photos and questioning why I only shoot black people or people of colour. This demographic is my own community fromwhen I was young, I’ve always had access to shoot with them. This community is already under represented, which is why it is a focus for my photography. What advise would you give for creatives starting out? Just do it… a lot of times we wait to get to a place where we’re ready, but you won’t ever feel ready until you just try it.



Could you please introduce yourself, and how you first got into the fashion industry? My name is Bukki Ojo. I first got into fashion through my own brand: Bukki, which focused on reworked vintage denim. This was whilst I was studying my masters in Fashion Entrepreneurship at UAL College of Fashion. So at 21, I would study in the week and then sell vintage denim pieces on the weekends. When I had sold off all the stock, I reinvested my profits based on customer requirements; this included windbreakers, sports jackets and sweatshirts etc. 90ZBACKis this.

#guapmeets BUKKI OJO

Where did the name 90ZBACK come from? It actually came from neighbour stalls – when I was away from the stall they would callout ‘The 90s are back, 90s are back’. Once I identified that my speciality was specifically 90s sportswear the name 90ZBACK stuck. What makes your vintage store different from many other vintage stores emerging on the scene? What I’ve found with vintage stores, is that there’s a tendency for them to be messy…and smelly. It makes it hard for customers to show. In terms of vintage clothing, the online sector is already booming, I realised to make sure the retail sector was popping to – I needed to find a solution.This solution was to create a curated shopping experience. Where a customer will come in, and find exactly what they’re after. My visual merchandising does exactly this; extremely neat organisation, colour coding, and modern aesthetics. Also, everything in my store in unisex. So when customers come into my store there’sno segregation and everyone can try on whatever they like. 90ZBACK is for all.” Interview by ILAYDA MCINTOSH Photography by ILAYDA MCINTOSH Words by ILAYDA MCINTOSH



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