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Backlash over YouTube video of gang ‘glamorising’ knife violence on streets of Forest Gate

PUBLISHED: 06:55 14 December 2017 | UPDATED: 12:46 14 December 2017

A screen-shot from the YouTube video filmed in Forest Gate, which has been viewed more than 1million times

A screen-shot from the YouTube video filmed in Forest Gate, which has been viewed more than 1million times

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A YouTube video filmed in Forest Gate that shows balaclava-clad hoodies rapping about gang violence has been criticised for apparently glorifying knife and gun crime.

The rap lyrics in the music video appear to glorify gang and knife violenceThe rap lyrics in the music video appear to glorify gang and knife violence

The music video has been viewed more than 1million times online since it was posted online on October 1.

The lyrics include the words: “I put Rambo blades in chests, I put flick knives straight in necks, With a wap [firearm] I’ll aim for your head, If you see me you’re looking at death.”

It has also spawned dozens of other videos of young teenagers watching the track and recording their reactions to it.

The footage begins with the disclaimer: “This music video is strictly for entertainment purposes only, the lyrical content should not be taken literally, the artist and makers do not condone violence of any kind.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called on YouTube and its parent company Google to crack down on online videos that encourage gang violence. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA WireMayor of London Sadiq Khan has called on YouTube and its parent company Google to crack down on online videos that encourage gang violence. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

But such content has come under fire from the Mayor of London and police for glamorising violence.

In August this year Sadiq Khan called on YouTube and its parent company Google, to crack down on online videos that encourage gang violence and knife crime.

He urged the internet giants and all online platforms to do more to remove such content and prevent it reappearing.

Former gang member Raheel Butt, who has turned his life around and now mentors young people at risk of criminality in Newham, said: “You simply have to go online, go to YouTube, and just watch a few music videos to realise that there is a substantial level of doctrine there that will navigate people towards knife crime and gun crime and glorifying drugs and violence.

Youth worker Raheel Butt says it's easy to find videos promoting gang violence online. Picture: Emma YouleYouth worker Raheel Butt says it's easy to find videos promoting gang violence online. Picture: Emma Youle

“A lot of youngsters are using YouTube as a platform to glorify this way of being and using that as a platform to generate revenue.”

The Recorder has seen adverts for fashion designers Viktor & Rolf and women’s clothing brand Shein previewing the video on YouTube.

We contacted YouTube’s parent company Google for comment, but had not received a reply as the Recorder went to press.

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