Interview: Scroobius Pip On Making A Change For Refugees
"These are individual people with individual stories"
Spoken word poet and rapper Scroobius Pip has always had a knack for storytelling. Whether it’s via his weekly podcast, as a part of hip-hop duo Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip or in his own solo work, his unique way with words has landed him at the forefront of his craft.
Now though, he’s using his position to tell a very different story; the story of Ramelle.
Ramelle is a refugee. Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, she suffered during the conflict, and was persecuted and tortured. Following this she was forced to flee, promised a passport to Canada, imprisoned when this turned out to fake, finally granted refugee status in the UK and had a degree in biochemistry within three years!
So where does Scroobius Pip come in to this incredible story?
Last year, Pip joined up with The British Red Cross to work on a unique project. After meeting with Ramelle and hearing her story via his weekly podcast, Pip signed up to be a part of ‘The Long Road EP’, a collection of songs by high profile artists such as Robert Plant, Kindness and Scroobius Pip himself, that tells the real stories of real people, through music. Ramelle is one of those people.
We caught up with Scroobius Pip about the project:
“The honour of someone like Ramelle trusting me with her story was something I couldn’t pass up on,” he said.
“If we can tell some stories of individuals it highlights that this name that we’re seeing in the paper of ‘immigrants’ or ‘asylum seekers’ or ‘refugees’ …these are individual people with individual stories; it’s not just some kind of label.”
“No one gets up in the morning and thinks, ‘oh, I’ll leave my family and my job and jump in a boat and potentially not survive at the other end just for a bit of fun’. These are people who’ve gone through harrowing experiences and not had a choice. The point of this was to break that down and go, ‘these are human stories, individual human stories,’ and yeah, it felt hugely needed to be honest.”
Pip is passionate about this project, having met Ramelle; he wanted to use his profile in any small way to help change perceptions:
“I’m under no illusion that working together with some amazing people on a record is going to solve that but man, if it can highlight to just a few people and the press it can drum up can highlight to a few people that these are individuals with their own real stories and their own real lives, then it’s worth every minute”
Pip also believes that ignorance is the main problem we face with the refugee crisis. He talks about Facebook pages like Britain First and those who share them (with little to no research on what they’re actually saying) being a big part of the problem. He believes that, “if it [the project] can start the conversation in that area, then I think for sure people’s minds can be changed and people’s eyes can be opened up”.
For Pip, this is a crucial time. He has no interest in benefiting personally from the track, and for that reason he hasn’t spoken about it much in the build-up. However, “today it’s out and that means something” so now his focus is on shouting about the record as loud as he can to try and change perceptions on as wide a scale as his status will allow him.
So that’s what we’re doing, we’re shouting about this incredible project. You can find out more about the whole thing, listen to Scroobius Pip's track and check out all the other inspiring musicians involved here. Get listening, because this is important!