A LOVER NOT A FIGHTER: Peter Hunnigale
BLACK HISTORY month is upon us once more and so is the Metropolitan Black Police Association (MET BPA) Celebration of Life concert.
Putting politics aside the organisation, which represents black personnel within the Metropolitan Police, hosts an annual music festival, in order to bring the community and the police close together. Heading up the acts for the musical extravaganza is none other than British reggae star Peter Hunnigale; pioneer on the lovers’ rock music scene.
Having been a part of the festival for over four years the Perfect Lady crooner is conscious of the role that the MET BPA has in society and that is why he supports them wholeheartedly.
“I’ve been part of the Celebration of Life Concert for several years now,” said the 51-year-old."
“It’s a great event that I respect and in my mind it is so important to get behind our police because we know how difficult it can be for black personnel in these organisations.”
“It is also a career line that we in the community should nurture; we can’t narrow down the opportunities that are available to our young people or community.
“We need police officers, we need nurses, we need lawyers and all the other professions, so I support this event.”
The Celebration of Life concert is also part of the Revival programme, a broader anti-violence initiative started by the MET BPA 10 years ago to combat knife and gun crime in the capital.
As someone who has grown up in an area that has recently made the news for a series of teenage stabbings, Hunnigale is well aware of the level of crime that can blight a neighbourhood but he believes that it will take the whole community to change the situation.
“I’m a native Brixtonian, so I know all about the issues in the area and in the community. There’s no community in the world that doesn’t have its fair share of problems but when I look at my own community, a lot of the issues that surround us are needless."
“A lot of the crime and violence is unjustified; really it’s a huge ignorance that we need to take out of our community.
He added: “I’m from a slightly older generation, so it’s nothing for me to say hello to people in my neighbourhood even if I don’t know them. But you couldn’t try that today with some of these youngsters, they would say; ‘what you doing in my ends fam?’ It’s a huge ignorance and we really have to find a way to stop it.
“The gang violence doesn’t make sense, so I’m all for the support of getting rid of it in our community.”
So what more can the community do?
The Be My Lady singer believes that we all need to become a role model in order to build a secure and harmonious neighbourhood.
“Role models go a long way to inspire young people and show them what they can be as opposed to being less than what could be. I grew up in the sixties and was inspired by Cassius Clay, who we know as Muhammad Ali.
“To see a role model that mirrored my identity went a long way to inspiring me.
This is why it’s so important to see positive roles on TV, not just muggers and undesirables in the programmes."
“It’s so important that people like me take a positive role in our community.”
The Celebration of Life concert will take place at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank centre, SE1 on October 19.
For more information visit www.metbpa.com