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Collier Row couple to host Rap Aid in support of mental health charities

OFF. SA uses rap to tell his story and connect with people (Credit: Besi Music)

A couple from Collier Row are hosting an online live music event to support two mental health charities. 

Organised by Besi Music, Rap Aid will bring together local rappers and artists from America, France, Italy and Zimbabwe to challenge misconceptions about mental health and rap. 

Besi Francis and rapper OFF. SA decided to raise money for charities Mind and My Oppo after someone very close to them was diagnosed with a mental health disorder. 

She said it showed them “there’s still stigmas behind it, there’s still people who don’t feel comfortable talking about it and it’s far more widespread than even we realised.” 

Mind offer advice and support to anyone experiencing a mental health problem while My Oppo help people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. 

“When you are a family member of friend of somebody with something so serious, it is hard to know what to say or how to support them,” added Besi.

She said it is really important for people to have access to advice, guidance and somewhere to go to for support. 

Marymo Undefined is one of the international stars taking part (Credit: Besi Music)

OFF. SA explained the event is also aimed at broadening people’s views about rap beyond the stereotypical songs and artists. 

“You can just be a normal person, just live a normal life, you don’t have to be doing the most glamourous things or living a certain lifestyle to be a musician and put yourself out there,” he said. 

The event will feature several different styles of rap from across the world.

“You’re gonna get the fun ones you can dance to, you’re gonna get the ones you might cry to, it’s gonna be a nice emotional rollercoaster,” added OFF. SA. 

Romford rapper Big Rebz is also set to perform at the event (Credit: Besi Music)

Besi claimed she would never have listened to rap before meeting her husband but would now encourage everyone to give it a chance. 

“Sitting back and listening to the lyrics, it’s just so clever,” she said. “It’s poetry and there’s the use of so many metaphors and similes. 

“To be able to create the instrumental, do the production and put the lyrics through it, I just realised how much more work went into it than I had ever imagined.” 

Rap Aid is free to attend and taking place at 8pm on Saturday, 1 May.

You can find out more about the event online here or on Facebook and Instagram

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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