Singer-songwriter Ray BLK first saw a gun when she was 15-years-old. She was at a party, there was a bit of a dispute over the music and a guy pulled out a weapon.
Unsurprisingly, it’s an incident that resonated and later became one of the prompts in Ray’s latest single, "Run Run" – a song with upsettingly real references to the gun violence and knife crime situation in the UK right now. The first verse tells a story not far from her own; about a teenage boy at a house party where things turn bad, fast. The second part of the song draws from a time she was burgled while her own mum was still in the house.
"Those two incidents stuck with me, and those are quite common instances that happen where I’m from", she told Radio 1’s Annie Mac when the song dropped on Wednesday. "I wanted to reach out to people who maybe feel like the issue doesn’t concern them. A lot of the time you see it on the TV, on the news, and it feels so detached from you that you can’t really empathise."
The music video is as striking as it is heartbreaking. Directed by Tom Green (who also worked on E4's Misfits), it follows a teenage boy running from the persistent threats of death and violence that surround him. He symbolically climbs a concrete staircase, stepping over pools of blood and bodies of young men before ultimately being struck down by a police officer, marked with a number on his chest and taken away in a van full of young men. It's a sharp reflection of a reality that is too often brushed over and we say, it's definitely worth a watch.