The politically-charged rapper and spoken word artist George the Poet calls recent UK governments decision “Victorian”.
George the Poet, real name George Mpanga, from Harlesden, north-west London, is no stranger to taking a stand. In May 2019, he rejected an MBE as a result of the “pure evil” perpetrated by the British empire. Now, the Hip Hop and spoken word artist has made his thoughts clear on the UK government’s decision not to extend the free school meals scheme.
The scheme aims to support some of the country’s poorest families, feeding thousands of children trapped in poverty. Many parents experiencing furlough from employment since March. Some have even found themselves unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic. At the start of the pandemic, the government extended free school meals to eligible children during the Easter holidays. Facing a rebellion and a high-profile campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford, they extended the scheme throughout the summer holiday.
But the government has refused to carry the scheme on. A petition created by the Manchester United footballer calling for provision to continue had gained nearly 100,000 signatures. It calls for an end to child food poverty as demand for food banks this winter already predicted 61% uptake than last year. The news comes just weeks after politicians agreed a £3,000 pay rise.
George The Poet Giving A Voice To The Voiceless
This prompted George the Poet to lash out at the government, calling the move from the Victorian era. He said: It’s weird that we are having conversations that sound like they are from the Victorian era. It is weird that Marcus Rashford, as much as I love and respect what he’s about and what he’s chosen to represent, it is weird that it falls on his shoulders, or he’s had to take up the mantle.”
Earlier in his career, George the Poet acknowledged the foundation of Hip Hop. Using rap to give a voice to the voiceless, George followed a tradition that the likes of Tupac lead. Speaking in 2015, George the Poet said: “I feel like I’m trying to continue that conversation about bringing wider consciousness and wider discussions to the streets. That’s a tradition that was probably best championed by Tupac, and I’m trying to continue that.”