Guvna B, like many others, routinely visits his neighborhood café for coffee in a manner that is typically unremarkable. On one occasion, though, as the rapper returned to his vehicle, there were three white males blocking his path.
He recounts the 15 seconds that followed as a haze.
“One of them threw hot coffee in my face and punched me in the eye,” he reports to BBC Newsbeat.
“It was broad daylight, and I did nothing to provoke them. I just feel that in the year 2023, such incidents shouldn’t be occurring.”
This assault prompted Guvna to return to the recording studio, with a push from his cousin Michaela Coel.
If you are unfamiliar with Michaela’s work, she is the author of the award-winning series I May Destroy You, which was inspired by her own experience of sexual assault.
Michaela voice-noted Guvna after hearing what had occurred to him, pushing him to transform his trauma into art.
“I did not want to discuss it at all,” Guvna explains.
“I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, but Michaela is really skilled at incorporating tough experiences into her artwork.
She stated that it would be therapeutic and helps those who have not been heard in similar situations.
Speaking with Guvna, it appears Michaela was correct.
If it weren’t for her advice, I would probably still be in my house fuming about the attack.
Michaela has acted in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever since penning the novel I May Destroy You.
And knowing the position of his cousin, Guvna desired to get her back on track.
“I told her, ‘You’re a famous actress right now, therefore I won’t do it unless you sing with me’.”
In addition, if you listen to Bridgeland Road, you will hear the exact audio message that Michaela delivered to Guvna.
Michaela’s voice is not the only one used on the record; police phone calls are also included.
Guvna reported the assault right after it occurred in August 2021, but after a six-month inquiry, the case was formally terminated.
Although the East Londoner insists he is not anti-police, this is something he wanted to portray in the song.
“I have a few family members who are police officers, so I didn’t want to villainize the police department,” he explains.
His track was published shortly after a very negative investigation described the Met Police as institutionally racist, misogynistic, and homophobic.
The force acknowledged that it had issues with policing minority communities, but disputed the phrase “institutional racism.”
Guvna states that he intended to emphasize how police officers “handle people differently.”
“When I called them after my assault, they asked me whether I had ever been in problems with the police.”
“I distinctly recall thinking, ‘I don’t believe these questions would be asked if I were elderly or a middle-aged white lady.'”
“The album is a method to question the community we see around us and help us develop bridges with people like the police, since I believe safer communities can only be achieved when we all collaborate.”
Guvna needed to speak with his mother in addition to his family members who worked for the police department.
Because Guvna hadn’t mentioned the attack to her before to the album’s release announcement.
“She was quite distressed, but also very empathetic,” he adds.
Guvna acquired the ability to be autonomous during his childhood.
“You must understand that I’ve been taught from a young age that true men are not meant to display weakness.
“We’re not supposed to be the victim, so sharing and telling others about it actually felt vulnerable.”
Now that he has two children, the rapper considers doing things differently.
“I simply felt, ‘This is greater than me,’ and I want men to understand that even if they’ve been attacked or victims of whatever, it’s not a sign of weakness to discuss it.
“I believe that is why I put it in my music and eventually told the ones who love me.”
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