YouTube have announced that they’ve deleted more than half of the music videos considered to be ‘violent’, with police specifically singling out ‘drill music’.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick asked for any music videos that appear to glamorise violence – singling out ‘drill music’ as what a particularly dangerous genre. The style of trap music originated in Chicago, before growing in the UK and London’s hip-hop scene over the last decade.
With over 30 deleted so far, some videos were blamed for a rise in violent crime in London.
“The gangs try to outrival each other with the filming and content – what looks like a music video can actually contain explicit language with gangs threatening each other,” Mike West from Metropolitan Police told the BBC. “There are gestures of violence, with hand signals suggesting they are firing weapons and graphic descriptions of what they would do to each other.”
Headlines were made earlier this year when 17-year-old rapper Junior Simpson was given a life sentence after writing a song about knife violence before he and three others stabbed 15-year-old Jermaine Goupall from Tottenham to death.
“You suggested the lyrics were just for show but I do not believe that,” Anthony Leonard QC told him during sentencing, “and I suspect you were waiting for the right opportunity for an attack.”
Det Supt West told The Independent that only videos that “raise the risk of violence” are flagged, rather than drill music in general. “We have been working with [YouTube owner] Google to take down some of the videos which they have done after approaches from us,” he said “Partnership working with organisations such as YouTube and Google is a key part of how we address this going forward and we continue to work with them to explore how we can tackle the issue.”
“1011 are a fast rising collective of young talented Musicians Digga.D, Sav’O, Loose1, Horrid1, who have recently been targeted by the police with orders to STOP their PROMOTIONAL USE of YOUTUBE,” reads their plea.
Signing the petition, one support Bradley Fenn wrote: “Give them a chance in media instead of taking the chance away from them. Also, it’s a passion for them in making music and nobody is getting hurt while they make music – so there is no point to ban them from making music.”
Another supporter Rebecca Leech added: “In the 50’s and 60’s it was rock music. Now it’s this. Get real.”
Yemi Abiade, Editor of Dummy Magazine, told the Independent: “Ignoring these problems breed contempt, giving birth to more violence. Regardless of London’s murder rate, drill will continue to offer a voice to those without one because, for many of them, it’s all they have to survive.”
Explaining the police, a Youtube spokesman said that they were only tackling videos in breach of their guidelines.
“We have developed policies specifically to help tackle videos related to knife crime in the UK and are continuing to work constructively with experts on this issue,” they said. “We work with the Metropolitan Police, the Mayor’s office for policing and crime, the Home Office, and community groups to understand this issue and ensure we are able to take action on gang-related content that infringe our community guidelines or break the law.
“We have a dedicated process for the police to flag videos directly to our teams because we often need specialist context from law enforcement to identify real life threats.
They added: “Along with others in the UK, we share the deep concern about this issue and do not want our platform used to incite violence.”