Plan B says rappers can educate kids

Rapper turned actor/director Ben Drew, aka Plan B, believes there are fewer opportunities in the film industry for working class kids.

Speaking at the launch of the Orange Rising Star nominations, at Bafta's headquarters, Drew said he believed that young people from middle class backgrounds have more chance of breaking into the industry than those from poorer backgrounds.

His comments came after he announced that Gemma Arterton, Andrew Garfield, Tom Hardy, Aaron Johnson and Emma Stone are all in the running for this year's Orange Award.

Drew first became famous for his music - with his two albums winning critical acclaim. However he has also won plaudits in the film industry for his acting, with roles in Adulthood, Harry Brown - opposite Michael Caine - and 4,3,2,1. And now he's adding directing to his repertoire - his first film Ill Manors is based in Forest Hill where he grew up - but it's been a struggle to get it made.

"There are less opportunities for kids from working class backgrounds because it's harder to make street films or black urban films" he told Sky News.

"It was really hard to get my film made, partly because it was seen as a black urban film - it was only after the success of my album [that it happened], the only time they wanted to commit was when the music went crazy."

Drew grew up in East London and shot to fame when his underground rapping became mainstream. He is a musician with a social conscience and wants to send out a message whether it be through his music or his films.

"There does seem to be a prejudice to the underclass in this society, there was to me, they used to call me certain ignorant chav, and through me bringing out a soul album I've managed to change minority opinion.

"There is a problem in the poorer areas of this country, we do have knife crime or gun crime, but there's always a reason for that and that's what I'm trying to show in my film."

Drew believes young people today listen to musicians more than authority figures, meaning music stars have a role to play in society.

"I hate this label of 'Broken Britain', we've always had problems, the poorer areas have always had issues," he said.

"What we need to be doing is not ban rap music like David Cameron once said he wanted to do. [Instead we should be] using certain rap music to educate these kids - these kids don't listen to authority figures, parents, police, teachers, but they do listen to rappers."

(c) Sky News 2011

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