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‘In 6th form everyone would say don’t go to LSE because they’d say it’s boring, well, we’re making it un-boring.’
Three LSE students and friends have come together and are adding what some may say is much needed fun onto the LSE campus. Rishav Shah, Jay Vekaria and Rishi Dattani are the founding fathers of LSE’s first Rap Society.
‘We actually recorded our first track on Friday and we videoed it and will release it on our Facebook page to get more publicity. Our main aim is anyone who has an interest or can rap to come try it out as well as listen to different types of tracks i.e grime, trap. Every week we have a slot on the LSE Pulse, we invite anyone to come, spit bars, do fire in the booth.’
‘We’ve actually had contact with one LSE alumni who’s a rapper and he wants to do a talk for us, he raps about his life as a trader and his life studying maths and stuff like that.’
These are activities that are not usually associated with a top world-ranking institution such as LSE and so the society is bound to form quit the reaction.
‘People are shocked. They’re surprised. Always surprised. I think its because its like three people from LSE, we’re academics and known as a very academic institution. We’re doing something like rap which is not academic and is more out of the box and that’s the best thing about it.’
The three have distinct tastes within the genre, from 50 Cent to Cadet. Though they hadn’t mentioned females in their top list of rappers, Rishav, a second year economics student, explains how they could benefit from female involvement.
‘There aren’t that many females on the scene, if anything, Nicki Minaj, she’s alright. Lady Leshurr is also good. That’s why it’d be cool if we got female members. People would look at our videos and be like, oh my god there’s a girl rapping and everyone would want to see. People don’t usually associate rapping with females, I think that’s something that we could definitely focus on.’
Rishi, a philosophy and economics student, and Jay, an accounting and finance student, make it clear what the society stands for.
‘It’s not just we rap and everybody listen, we want people to get involved. It’s not about ‘oh their really good’ if people can say, ‘yeah I can rap better than that’ then good! Join! Even if you’ve never listened to rap because that’s part of uni, joining societies and trying new things.’
They’d like to collaborate with other societies on campus such as Classical Music. They’ve also connected with Kings Rap Soc, who have offered some tips and guidance.
It’s not just rap either, if you’re a singer, this Rap Soc wants you too. Every song needs a good hook and you could be it!
Visit their Facebook page
Join them, membership is only £1.50
Tonight (19 Jan 2017) at the LSE, students and public alike gathered together to experience an interactive, intimate night with former Black Panther Bob Brown and Omowale Rupert, a representative of the Pan Afrikan Society Community Forum.
Interviewed by Temi Mwale, Director of the 4Front Project and featured in Forbes’ ‘30 under 30′ 2017 Social Entrepreneurs list, Bob and Omowale reflected on their experiences throughout their lives which made for a night of heavy reflection: this author certainly felt blessed not to have had to live through their experiences of prejudice, discrimination and pain.
“I did not vote for Obama”Thought-provoking highlights from Bob’s lecture included his accounts of campaigning against senators for locking up minors in adult jails and his reflections on what it meant to be led by the first black President of the USA.
“I’m happy that he is the first black President - but we must move beyond this and raise questions of quality - it’s about the best representative”.
The night was also interactive - the audience was asked for their thoughts and opinions; and were invited to reflect and share their ideas as well as thoughts about Omaowale and Bob’s journey.
Overall, the night was a unique one - featuring rarely-found interactive dialogue with key ‘Black Liberation’ historical figures. Students went away with the added experience of having met and heard a Black Panther - something not often found on this side of the globe.
Thank you all for coming out!
As one of LSESU’s most recent, and potentially controversial societies, the Students for Sensible Drug Policy Society, is an international grassroots network of students. It aims to campaign for promoting effective drug policies and harm reduction.
The idea came about recently, around the time nightclub FABRIC closed in 2016. Society President Sophie Bjorholm-Lewis contacted a number of charities and organisations about the idea, a search that led her to fellow co-founder, Zoe Carre.
‘It kind of just happened. We’ve had great support from the LSE as well as Anna, from the Students’ Union. I suppose FABRIC may be illustrative of how when there is drug related deaths amongst young people and other sad stories out there, the response is kind of to crack down instead of trying to reduce harm and effective methods towards young people.’
‘So in a sense we are going to be trying to do a similar thing, to prevent that kind of thing happening in the student body if they are using drugs. A harm reduction response is probably lacking [in LSE] and we’re just trying to fill that gap.’
Jasveen Kaur, 1st year Economics student and treasurer of the society agreed.
‘[at LSE] There’s not that much advice, there’s not that much help. It’s not talked about and is slightly taboo-ish. We want to take that down.’
‘It’s about creating a space where people can come talk to us as if they have any issues. Most of the time you wouldn’t exactly want to talk to a governing body of LSE if you were having any issues relating to those kind of topics.’
Zoe Carre is no novice to this line of work. She’s worked for Lifeline, which is substance rescue service and currently volunteers alongside Sophie for Release, which is an advocacy group, providing free legal advice to drug users.
‘I think another side to the society if not just about harm reduction but also to train and educate young people on how they can become young advocates for drug policy reform.’
Zoe started a SSDP chapter in Newcastle 3 years ago and launched a campaign to challenge the zero tolerance policy at the university, which they managed to successfully change.
‘I helped them implement and become the first university to give out drug testing equipment on campus with SSDP. These kits don’t tell you exactly what’s in it but it indicates if there is a high level of a certain chemical and that could make you think twice before taking a drug.’
Sophie, who is in her 2nd year of Philosophy, closed by reiterating that what they’re tackling, isn’t one dimensional.
‘Drug policies don’t just affect young people, it’s completely multi-age. It will affect your grandmother if something happens to you. We’re not promoting drugs or demoting drugs, we’re very neutral. Whether you’ve had experiences with recreational drugs or not.’
‘A lot of people that we’ve spoken to, our peers, think it’s more of a space where people who do drugs can meet other people who do drugs, whereas it’s not that. It’s about harm reduction and trying to change policies and changing peoples’ perspectives on quite a prominent issue.’
‘A complete prohibition of recreational drugs will never happen; it will always exist on some level within society. It’s like with alcohol or sex education. Some people may be offended by us giving out condoms but if people are going to have sex anyway then at least we’d be making it safer.’
So what’s next for the society? They’re planning an introductory session where they’ll answer questions around their society aims. They plan on hosting a film screening and want to get drug testing kits. They also have printable materials around particular drug use or different ways of ingesting drugs as that affects how harmful a substance is.
Be a part of their Facebook community (they already had 70 likes in two days)
Email the society - email@example.com
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