After a long day of doing absolutely nothing, apart from drinking cava, I was scrolling through Instagram (IG) and came across Faron Alex-Paul (vigilante) post. He’d shared a post from George’s Opinion which was a spoken word IGTV on knife crime. WOW! JUST WOW! What an amazing, powerful piece, performed perfectly and the backdrop (the kitchen where a lot of people will steal kitchen knives from) was suited to the cause. I shared it on my IG story and he replied. I’m quite good at taking the plunge to collaborate with people, so I went for it. He was really nice and agreed.
Bio: “Allow me to introduce myself properly. My name is George Murphy. I was born and raised in London. I have always been an outspoken individual. Since I was a child, I’ve always had the desire to make others smile and laugh. As I got older, I lost this passion as my sister was affected by severe mental health. I was angry at the world and couldn’t understand why this was happening to my family. I found myself rebelling and getting myself into predicaments. All I wanted was attention and love, which I looked for in all the wrong places. I found myself locked into a dangerous lifestyle; money, drugs, knives, not going home and so forth. If I wasn’t carrying a knife, I didn’t feel safe. This just caused further pain for my family. My aim now is to use my voice and my past to shine a light into this lifestyle and help others that may feel this is the way forward. I want to show the youths of today that love can be found elsewhere, being scared or anxious isn’t a sign of weakness and most importantly, that they are important and they should never feel forgotten. The answers come from within. We as a society, must have compassion and support for one another so we don’t lose anymore loved ones. Let’s change the world, step by step and together.”
George was also nice enough to take time out of his busy day to answer some of our questions.
How are you doing especially during the lockdown? “I have been fortunate enough to remain working through this pandemic so the lockdown has not had a major affect on me; but I am missing my friends and family as I believe a lot of us are.”
How long have you been doing poems/spoken word? “The poem I made on knife crime was my first ever attempt at making a spoken word poem. I have been writing freestyle raps for about 5 years so I just used my passion and talent in that, to convert my work to something I felt would be more powerful and easier to take in from all audiences.”
Did you expect the response you got to your knife crime spoken word? “The response I received from my poem was insane and something I had never expected to see. Forget about the views, it was more the messages from young boys and mothers of young boys, who have been affected or still are affected by knife crime that really touched my heart. I have built and are continuing to build a community that is speaking about all issues in society and that means more to me than anything.”
Are there any writers/poets you look up to? “I had never been interested in or even influenced by poetry up until very recently. I have a few poets I look up to and have taken a deep interest too. @ragzcv founder of @poeticunity. @ellisdaniel is also somebody I have taken a big interest/following too after hearing his spoken word pieces on Instagram. The UK rapper Dave is also somebody who I look up to and inspire to be like.”
What inspired you to be a mental health advocate? “Mental health issues are something that have affected my life almost from the very beginning; be it through my own personal struggles or those around me. I have seen so many suffer in silence to the point where it is too late, so I will do all that I can to give my fellow struggler’s a voice and a ear to listen.”
You mentioned being involved with some difficult pathways how did you manage to get out and leave that life behind? “The only reason I am here being able to answer your questions today, is due to the love and support from my family, friends and partner. I am very fortunate to have something others are not so lucky to have and that is unconditional love. Another big factor to me making the change was due to the fact that in my area, two young boys lost their lives in a very short space of time. This frightened and motivated me to change my ways as I did not want to put my family through that pain I was witnessing from others.”
How are you hoping to progress with the spoken word? Would you do a book of spoken word/poems? Make it a career? “I don’t know what the future holds, but I am 100% sure that I will be continuing to use my voice to create and inspire others. I have always seen myself in a career where I use my voice so I don’t know if this will be in the format of a book but, at the moment I have some big things planned for my Instagram page.”
What’s next for you? “I will be continuing to post my creations to Instagram and also want to start a podcast in the near future.”
Finally, any advice for people who look up to you and want to do spoken words/poems too? “My advice to anybody who wants to create any form of art is to not worry about how others take it. Do what you love and want to do and when the time is right the world will take you in and listen. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something, focus on yourself and chase those dreams.”
You can find George on Instagram @georgesopinion